By Eric Schmidt

Will Sunday be the final game that Steven Jackson dresses as a member of the St. Louis Rams? Even further, could Sunday be the last day of Steven Jackson’s career in the NFL? When asked by reporters about his plans after this season, Jackson suggested that Sunday might be his last game in the NFL.

“I’ve always thought about it from day one. I’ve always thought about what my exit strategy is going to be. If I had to write my story, I’d rather go out like Barry Sanders-wanting people to want more than to leave too late,” said Jackson.

Jackson is bound for free agency next season and has spent his entire career with the Rams organization. He has always stated that he would like to finish his career with the Rams, but it will be up to Jackson and his demands for a salary next season, to see if that does indeed happen.

Jackson, who turns 30 in July, has been a workhorse for the Rams franchise. In his nine seasons, he has rushed for over 1,000 yards seven times and with just 10 yards on Sunday, it will mark eight straight seasons.

Although he will turn 30 this offseason, Jackson is still a very productive back and would generate some interest on the free agent market. A team like the Green Bay Packers or the Detroit Lions would likely be interested.

For Jackson, the timing couldn’t be worse. He hits the free agent market just as the Rams appear to be on the verge of turning things around under head coach Jeff Fisher. St. Louis has the nucleus of a solid young team with an aggressive defense. The Rams could wind up the season leading the NFL in team sacks. Meanwhile, Jackson ground it out week in and week out for a Rams team that posted a 15-65 overall record in the last five years, prior to the arrival of Fisher. With a solid draft and the addition of a few free agents, St. Louis could compete for a playoff spot in 2013.

The decision whether or not to return will be ultimately up to Jackson. The team and head coach Jeff Fisher has expressed a desire to see Jackson return, but his possible return will be up to what his contract demands are in the offseason.

Jackson told reporters that he was going to take some time in the offseason to determine whether or not he wants to continue playing and reflect on his career. In nine seasons, Jackson has rushed for 10,083 yards on 2,384 carries and scored 56 rushing touchdowns.

 

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