Steven Jackson Still Honored to Be a Ram

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ST. LOUIS, MO.  (Joe Richter, Missouri Sports Magazine) – The St. Louis Rams weren’t exactly the talk of the town over the past 48 hours, with St. Louis Cardinals legend Albert Pujols heading west to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.  In fact, with sincere apologies to outstanding St. Louis Blues defenseman Barrett Jackman, Rams punter Donnie Jones might now be the best #5 in town.  Even Steven Jackson had some words about Pujols’ departure.  Jackson said, “I was a little disappointed for Cardinal Nation. He’s been a huge attraction for us for quite some time. He’s the reason why, one of the reasons, I can’t say the only, but one of the main reasons why I started following the Cardinals.  I was a huge fan and still am a huge fan of his. (It’s) a business decision; I think he made a business decision at the end of the day.”

Jackson has been in St. Louis since 2004, and couldn’t help but become part of Cardinal Nation, himself.  Being from Las Vegas, Nevada, Jackson wasn’t a big baseball fan prior to his St. Louis residence.  “I was not. It’s one thing about Las Vegas, you don’t have any real ties to any sports teams – you just watch the winners. Since I’ve been here the Cardinals have been some winners, so I’ve jumped on the bandwagon with that.”

And that contract Pujols got might make Jackson think twice about what sports he has his kids concentrate on. He said, “I tell my kids, ‘Anything with a round ball; no oval shaped balls.’ You can do pretty good in the round ball department. We check that off – Dad did the football, you guys do something else.”

The defection of the megastar from St. Louis has become more than a sideshow, overshadowing both a very exciting Blues team and the Rams making an appearance on the big stage of the NFL – Monday Night Football.  But the Rams aren’t letting this chance to rise above their troubles slip away.  “Honestly I don’t really listen to sports talk or anything else,” Jackson said. “On Monday night this is what we all hope, during the regular season you get a Monday night game and to put on a show for the nation and kind of propel yourself for the postseason. We’re not going to have a postseason, so this is our shot to show the nation what we’re trying to do here and what we’ve been building here over the last three years. Although we have our backs against the wall and some young guys playing or some guys that wouldn’t normally be playing in circumstances, this is also time for them to show off their talent too. It’s a stage that I think everyone looks forward to being on.”

It will be interesting to see how the Rams approach the game on Monday night.  Both Sam Bradford and A.J. Feeley were held out of practice so far this week, with ankle and thumb injuries respectively.  You’re thinking they should run 50 times, right?  Well, the offensive line injuries haven’t helped the run game excel.  “Well to answer that,” Jackson said, “I expect a big load every Sunday or Monday. Whoever is going to be the field general on that particular day I think he’ll be ready. I’m expecting that I’ll be a part of the game plan. I don’t know how much, but whenever my number is called, just try to go out there and execute to the best of my ability.”

Come on, Steven; what will it really take to make the run game work? “It’s not going to be easy,” he said, “but I think just getting me in a groove, getting me back in my groove that we were at about a month ago, continue to just get guys to focus in and hone in on different assignments. Once we get that into rhythm, it’s hard to catch your rhythm when guys are constantly rotating in and out of the lineup. If we could just get our core guys together for this last month of football and get into a rhythm, I think we’ll be able to put up a pretty good fight against these next four opponents.”

One thing is for certain – Jackson and the Rams will do everything they can to make their fans proud.  Though playoffs aren’t in the immediate future for the Rams, there is much more to play for.  “Well,” he said, “the first thing is you play for pride and then secondly the love of the game. You don’t want to turn on the film on Mondays or Tuesdays or whenever you’re doing a grade sheet and have guys questioning your heart or your love for the game. The passion that I try to display each and every Sunday, I hope that it fuels the guys around me, just be a lightning bolt for what to expect out of this team and out of this club. Anytime we hit the field I expect that we never give up and never throw in the towel.”

There’s something to be said about Jackson being a part of St. Louis sports for so long.  He’s been through some of the hardest years to be a Ram, and never made a public spectacle about wanting out.  In modern sports, with all the free agency opportunities to go to greener pastures, Jackson finds loyalty to be divine.  “To finish out with one team is special,” he said. “That particular franchise that gave birth to a dream and allowed you to live it out and be embraced by the community, so I would believe that he would have wanted to stay here and I think any athlete, whoever drafts you or signs you when you’re a young guy, you would love to finish with that particular team.”

And we’re proud and happy to have you, Steven.

Other players who were held out of practice were: DE Chris Long (ankle), RB Quinn Porter (abdomen), FB Brit Miller (knee) and DT Fred Robbins (back).  DE Eugene Sims (ankle) was limited and T Mark LeVoir (chest) progressed to full participation.

 

NEXT UP

The Rams (2-10) will have their rematch with the Seattle Seahawks (5-7) Monday night in Seattle, Washington.  Game time is 7:30pm CST.