With McFadden headed toward free agency and Jackson's recent promotion to offensive coordinator in Cincy, could the running back and coach reunite in 2014?
"What a tremendous talent. But I really like my little guy Gio (Bernard). He had a real good season. But I don't think you can ever have too many good backs."
The Bengals could use an injection of talent on their depth chart. While Bernard emerged as a rising star, the Bengals got subpar production from backfield counterpart BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who averaged just 3.4 yards per rush on 220 carries.
McFadden, 26, repeatedly has been undermined by lower body injuries during his six seasons in the league. Even more alarming was the product he put on the field in 2012 and 2013. He averaged just 3.3 yards on 330 carries.
McFadden accounted for more than 1,600 total yards and 10 touchdowns with Jackson as his coach in 2010. Jackson said he'd have to "be around" McFadden again, but thinks he's still the same guy.
"Darren is still a downhill runner, he's a one-cut runner," he said. "He has the ability to split out and catch balls and do those things but I think, with any football player, you've just got to build their confidence and let them know you believe in them and create an environment for them to be as good as they can be and normally good things happen. And I don't think it's any different with him."
"Somebody's going to get a really good football player here in the future if he doesn't stay there in Oakland and I just wish him the best."
McFadden will be an interesting case in free agency. Given his recent production and extensive injury history, McFadden might be best served by a one-year deal that allows him to re-establish his value.
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