You know what Fred Jackson isn't? Sexy. You're never going to hear "See Fred Jackson in action on Sunday night!" in a commercial on NBC.
You know what Fred Jackson is? Productive. He's been the Bills leading rusher the last two seasons, despite never being the biggest name on their depth chart. It seems like there's always a first-round draft pick or someone else whose resume does not include Coe College, the Sioux City Bandits and Rhein Fire who Buffalo would rather assume the role of its featured back.
It hasn't happened, though. Fred Jackson has always emerged as the most reliable guy. For that, he'd at least like to be known as the No. 1 running back in Buffalo, and he's upset that he isn't.
C.J. Spiller started the Bills' last preseason game, and he might have that same role on opening day for the Bills. Jackson feels like it should be his, and Buffalo radio station WGR 550 asked if he felt disrespected by that.
"Absolutely I do," he said. [...] "I've been saying it, I feel like a number one back and I should be treated like one. I should know what's going on and know where I stand and what the situation is." [...]
"I don't think anything's changed. It's been like this for two or three years and I have to keep fighting for what I feel like is my job, so I'll continue to work, Try to find out what's going on and see what happens. I apparently have to go out and prove myself every year. I'll continue to do what I can. I show up on the field and make plays when I get that opportunity."
What has the team told him about his role?
"Nothing, I'm just as much in the dark as you are so I guess to find out what's going on you'll have to ask him [head coach Chan Gailey]." Jackson added, "I'm unhappy with everybody, just knowing what's going on. I feel like I'm a number one back and I should know what's going on."
As much as Fred Jackson has earned everything he's gotten in Buffalo, the reality is that he is not owed the position of the Bills' No. 1 running back. That's just not the reality in the NFL. Unless you're one of a small handful of truly elite backs, you're going to have to prove yourself again every year, because there's always a younger, fresher (likely cheaper) set of legs chasing you down.
Jackson should at least know where he stands, though. If that's the case, and the Bills coaching staff isn't being up front with him, that's a problem. That's just a courtesy that should be extended to a veteran, especially one who's worked as hard as Fred Jackson.
The starting job, though? He might have to give that up, or at least share that with, C.J. Spiller. The Bills will go with whatever combination they feel like gives them the best chance to win. There's nothing unfair about that.
Gracias, Buffalo Low Down.