CULVER CITY, Calif. -- The last time we saw Fred Jackson, he was limping off the field in Miami, a career year abruptly cut short by a broken bone in his lower right leg.
That day Jackson was devastated, remembering it as the worst feeling he ever had on a football field.
"You feel like you're going out and making some plays, finally starting to do some things right," Jackson told Around The League on Thursday from NFL Network studios. "To have it end that way is not the way you want it to end."
Luckily for Jackson, the break was on a non-weight bearing bone and doctors have told him the leg is now stronger than it was before the injury. (This seems hard to believe, but who am I to defy the men in the white coats.)
Jackson said he could play tomorrow, but he'd probably like to get a contract with the Buffalo Bills done first. Jackson is entering the final year of a four-year deal that will pay him $1.95 million in 2012. It's a bargain for a player that emerged as one of football's best all-purpose backs before his injury.
Jackson is on record saying he's OK with a deal not being done yet so long as general manager Buddy Nix continues to work toward it. I ask Jackson when it won't be OK.
"We've always said we want to have something done by training camp," he said. "So if we get to training camp and nothing is going on, then something will start to happen. But like I said, I've always put faith in Buddy and I think we'll get started soon. We've got the draft behind us and we got free agency over with, so I think things will start to pick up soon."
Is a holdout a possibility?
"Not at all. It's not something I want to do," he said. "I'll go in and I'll play. I'm under contract for another year. I'll go out and finish my contract and see what happens from there."
The Bills hold the cards here. Given his position and age (31), it's hard to imagine Jackson finding big money on the open market. The Bills say they will take care of him, but could they be tempted to let this deal run out and re-evaluate a year from now? We'll know soon enough.