Steven Jackson's quest to lead his team to the postseason and deep into January football takes him to Seattle this weekend.
But another honor, announced on Tuesday, ensured that, one way or another, No. 39 will be playing football late into the month.
SJ39 received word on Tuesday that his peers have voted him onto the NFC Pro Bowl roster for the second straight season. In seven NFL seasons, it is Steven's third Pro Bowl selection. Upon receiving the good news, S-Jax took to Twitter to show his gratitude toward those who selected him:
Thx u all for the pro bowl votes... I am very appreciative.
Steven expanded on that statement to Nick Wagoner of Rams.com:
"I'm elated to be named to the Pro Bowl," Jackson said. "It's a tremendous honor that has come through a lot of hard work by myself, my teammates and my coaches. I'll be at the Pro Bowl and I'll be proudly representing St. Louis."
For SJ39, the honor comes during one of the best and most fruitful seasons of his career. He currently ranks fourth in the NFC in rushing yards at 1,196. That's already the third highest total of his career with one game yet to play. He's also racked up 344 yards receiving this year and leads the NFL in total touches with 361, all while toughing it out for every minute of every game.
"He's battled through some injuries like only he can do," Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "We've all grown to appreciate that with Steven."
This season alone, Steven has become the all-time leading rusher in Rams history, after passing Hall-of-Famer Eric Dickerson on October 24th. No. 39 also became the NFL's active leader in consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons with six, a feat only 10 other running backs in NFL history have matched. And with 97 rushing yards on Sunday in Seattle, Steven could reach the 8,000-yard mark for his career, which would move him into 42nd on the all-time rushing list at just 27 years old. He's currently 44th on the list.
SJ39's production this season, not to mention his leadership, have brought the Rams from a 1-15 2009 season to 7-8 this year, on the verge of the postseason with a win on Sunday.
"It's well-deserved," Spagnuolo said of the selection. "I think I speak for the whole team in saying how proud I am of Steven. It's a reflection not only of his hard work, but also the work of his teammates and coaches."
The feat also drew Steven some congratulatory words from the media.
Congrats to St. Louis Rams RB Steven Jackson who was the only member of his team to make the 2011 NFL Pro Bowl. Jackson's been battling all season, stacked boxes, holes that barely emit light for him to run through.
Congrats to Rams running back Steven Jackson for being voted to the Pro Bowl for the third time in his career. Since the start of the 2005 season, Jackson leads the NFC in rushing with 7,230 yards and he's No. 1 in yards from scrimmage with 9,672 yards. Jackson continues to be one of the most consistent running backs of the era. He ranks second to Minnesota's Adrian Peterson among NFC running backs in average yards rushing per game (85.1) and average yards from scrimmage per game (113.8) since 2005. A noisy segment of Rams fans enjoy complaining about Jackson but this latest Pro Bowl honor is proof (again) of the level of respect that Jackson commands from fellow NFL players and competitors.
The three-time pro bowler leads the St. Louis Rams into a do-or-die game for the NFC West title this Sunday in Seattle against the Seahawks.
Pro Football Weekly named SJ39 its most intriguing player for Week 17:
For years Jackson has been playing his keister off for one lousy Rams squad after another. Now the playoffs are oh-so close. Jackson will make a well-deserved postseason appearance if the Rams can go into Seattle and knock off the Seahawks on Sunday night. The winner of this game can lay claim to being king of the garbage heap that is the NFC West.
The Seahawks have been especially putrid of late, having been pasted in three consecutive games in which they have allowed a total of 112 points. Jackson had 70 rushing yards and 54 receiving yards against Seattle back in Week Four but didn't find his way into the endzone. The Buccaneers' LeGarrette Blount gored Seattle for 164 rushing yards last week, so unless the Seahawks have suddenly figured out how to stop big, punishing running backs, Jackson should be in for a big game.
Kickoff is scheduled for 8:20 p.m. and all the action can be seen nationwide on NBC.