Earlier this month, Steven Jackson received the Hall-of-Fame treatment from the place he planted his roots, Southern Nevada. But if SJ39 keeps up his current pace, that won't be the last Hall he gains membership to.
In August, Steven's St. Louis mentor, Marshall Faulk, will be given football's top honor when he is enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Faulk's path has been set out before Steven as a guideline to entry and through his first seven years in the NFL, No. 39 has been more than deserving of recognition.
Steven Jackson has set out on a path that could run straight to Canton (St. Louis Post-Dispatch).
According to Vinnie Iyer of the Sporting News, S-Jax tops the list of active running backs deserving of significant hall consideration:
Steven Jackson, Rams (28 in July). He has done very well in replacing Faulk as St. Louis' feature back as an elite runner and receiver in his own right. It's also a good sign he has looked his strongest as a Pro Bowler the past two seasons. Staying healthy to have three more of his typical seasons, he will crack the top 15 all-time in yards from scrimmage, giving him a strong case. More team success with the Rams would be a big boost.
Through seven seasons, Steven currently ranks 44th on the NFL's all-time rushing list with 7,948 rushing yards, an average of 1,135 yards per season. Faulk finished his 12-year career with 12,279 yards rushing. Steven would have to average just 867 yards per season over the next five years to eclipse that mark, a goal that is more than attainable for SJ39.
Steven's toughness has allowed him to play through the worst of injuries and NFL.com's Steve Wyche believes S-Jax still has plenty left in the tank to get there:
Jackson, who turns 28 next month, surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the sixth straight season. There is no questioning his toughness, durability or commitment. He wants the ball as much as possible. He's averaged 268 carries in his seven seasons, but that doesn't tell the whole story.
Jackson has been one of the Rams' top receiving threats as well, totaling a minimum of 38 over the past few seasons and maxing out at 90 in his incredible 2006 season when he rushed for more than 1,528 yards. All told, Jackson averages 315 touches per season — 375.5 over the past two. That is putting in work.
To that point, No. 39 is ready to put the Rams running game on his back for several more years:
"Everyone knows how strongly I feel and take pride in being one of the few featured backs, three-down running backs in the league," he said earlier this offseason. "I think right now while I'm still young that I still have the ability to carry the team and carry the load."
EDUCATION AND ATHLETICS
Like many of his peers, Steven used some of his summer down time this weekend to host a youth camp. But what made SJ39's camp unique was its focus on education as much as athletics.
Steven used the opening of his mini-camp at Walnut Recreation Center in Las Vegas on Saturday morning to speak to a group of about 100 student athletes regarding the importance of keeping up their education while they play sports.
"It's about giving them options," No. 39 told Fox 5 Vegas. "If sports doesn't work out, then they need to have option B and C available to them in life, and the only way to get there is through education."
After running the students through some drills for the athletic segment of the camp, Steven sat them down in a classroom and talked about how his education has helped him achieve in his life off the field. He also took time to talk to some students individually and sign autographs.
"It's not every day you get to sit down and talk to someone that you aspire to be someday. I just wanted to sit them down and give them the reality of it. It's not what it seems. I don't want to discourage them [from athletics] but you want to have a plan A, a plan B and even a plan C. I remember being in the students' seats one day and I never had the chance or opportunity to ask someone about it."
The event was co-hosted by Clark County Commissioner Lawrence Weekly and Weekly spoke to FOX after the camp about how special it was to have Steven giving back to the community:
"Steven Jackson is a native Nevadan who is graciously sharing some of his experience and knowledge with us," Commissioner Weekly said. "To have someone of his caliber give our youth and young adults the opportunity to learn from him is a blessing."
- Who will follow Faulk to Hall of Fame? Beyond LT, start in St. Louis (Sporting News, June 24, 2011)
- NFL Workhorse backs still have plenty left to give (NFL.com, June 21, 2011)
- Jackson Still Wants to Carry the Load (101 ESPN, April 19, 2011)
- SJ39 to the HOF (Ramblin' Fan, June 26, 2011)
- St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson hosts mini camp in Vegas (Fox 5 Vegas, June 25, 2011)