Steven Jackson's personality makes him one of the most unique players in the NFL.
On the field, No. 39 plays one of the most physically demanding positions in all of football with the bruises to prove it. But unlike a wealth of his peers, Steven has various interests off of the gridiron. He's well versed in architectural knowledge from his undergraduate work at Oregon State. He's interested in design, as evidenced by an internship at Nike this spring and he spent last month abroad driven by a fascination for other cultures.
Steven's various interests made him the perfect target for MTV's new online series: Players With Game. S-Jax recently sat down and talked about his interests with the global entertainment network.
"I'm most known for being destructive. I seek out contact. I don't shy away from it," he said. "But I'm not just a football player. I have other interests. I'm a designer, I'm an artist. To have all those things blend and be successful at it, that means the sky's the limit and that's very meaningful."
Watch Steven talk with MTV about his personal style and how it has evolved, his tattoos, his interest in art and his hobbies below:
Tags: MTV Shows
PLAYERS RANK SJ39 at No. 38
Steven's durability, endurance and all around ability with the pigskin in his hands have certainly impressed his peers.
Steven checked in at No. 38 on NFL Network's Top 100, a list of the Top 100 players in the game as voted on by the players. Numbers 40-31 were revealed on Sunday night's episode of the weekly show.
Check out the video the NFL Network put together to spotlight SJ39 at No. 38, including a breakdown by Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo, here.
Steven's peers ranked him 38th among the Top 100 Players in the NFL for the upcoming 2011 season.
According to Spagnuolo, Steven makes the Rams difficult to game plan for because of how hard he is to stop.
"If you're a defender and you're putting on that tape and you're watching the St. Louis Rams, you're going to play them that week, I think the first thing you see is No. 39 running the football and you're trying to figure 'how am I going to tackle that guy'," Spagnuolo said. "Steven Jackson is really, at the running back position, a dying breed. You can hand him the ball on first or second down and you can leave him in there on third down to protect or go out there and become a pass receiver.
"He's an all around back and he's an every down back. There aren't as many of them in this league anymore. I think that makes him special."
Spagnuolo also talked to the NFL Network about Steven's command of the team and shared a rare anecdote about how he put rookie quarterback Sam Bradford at ease last season.
"Certainly when we need somebody to stand up and be the leader of our football team, it's Steven. I know all the players see that and he has accepted that role in a very good way," he said. "[Last season], Steven went to Sam and said ‘Sam, I may be the captain on offense, but you're the captain in the huddle.'
"Here's a rookie quarterback, and to have that said to him, I think made Sam feel really good about what he was doing. That's a leadership item right there that not many leaders would do. But Steven knew it was important for the team and important for the offense. So that's what he did."
Steven's combination of tangible and intangible contributions to the Rams and the league make him one of the NFL's standout players at No. 38. But according to former Ram Marshall Faulk, Steven's mentor in St. Louis, that ranking isn't high enough.
"When you look at what he brings to the table, he's a complete back," Faulk said on Sunday night's "Top 100: Players of 2011 Reactions" show. "He can take it the distance, he gets the tough yardage, and yes, he carries the load for a team. Not to mention the big guy can catch the ball out of the backfield. They got this one wrong by looking at the young guys and what they do right now instead of what Steven Jackson has done over his whole career."
STEVEN ENTERS THE HALL
One place where Steven's ranking will never be disputed is the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame, which made S-Jax one of its newest members on Friday night.
When he first received the invite, SJ39 was taken aback slightly, considering he is still in the midst of a great NFL career. But he understood what the honor meant.
"I felt it was a little strange to be getting the call, but I wasn't going to say no," No. 39 told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "People don't think of Nevada producing successful athletes, especially football players. But I've always been proud to be from Las Vegas and felt it was important to represent the city and the community."
Steven was recognized for his success as a high school player, when he rushed for 6,396 yards and 81 touchdowns at Eldorado High. But that wasn't all he did. As Ray Brewer of the Las Vegas Sun writes, it's what Steven accomplished with his talent after high school, and the path he paved from Nevada to the NFL, that helped put his home on the map.
"But for Las Vegas area high school football players, Jackson's most significant accomplishment was simply excelling at the next level.
Before Jackson burst onto the scene at Oregon State, Southern Nevada was lightly recruited and several players with college-level talent went under-recruited. But after Jackson shined with the Beavers, college coaches starting including Las Vegas on the recruiting trail.
Over the last three years, almost 40 locals have received scholarships to Division I schools. A decade earlier, when Jackson led Eldorado to the state championship game, the area was lucky to have five players earn a full ride.
Thank you, Steven.
"I definitely helped pave the way for the other guys," Jackson said Friday before the induction. "You have to give Oregon State credit for being the first to come here and bring guys out. Now, all kind of schools are finding guys here."
Steven was one of five members of the Class of 2011 honored at the Orleans Arena, a group that included the 1944 Las Vegas High School football squad, which went unscored upon on its way to a perfect 8-0 record.
"I would have loved to have been on that team; I would have gotten a whole lot more yards," Steven told the Review-Journal. "But I would have also loved the challenge of playing against them, because what they did was remarkable, and as a football player, you always want to test yourself against the best. And those guys, for that time, were the best. They helped pave the way for me as well as the guys from Vegas who went into the NFL before me, and I'm honored to be going into the Hall of Fame with that team."