Jackson spent his first nine years in the NFL with the Buffalo Bills, who never finished better than 9-7. Now he is headed to the playoffs for the first time in his career.
RENTON — It was a beautifully executed tweet from the fingers of Seahawks running back Fred Jackson. He attached a four-second clip of former Colts coach Jim Mora famously squealing in disbelief, “Playoffs!?” Above that was Jackson’s message: “It took 10 years, but yeah, we can talk about playoffs!!!”
Fred Jackson, in his 10th NFL season, at age 34, is headed to the playoffs for the first time. His son, Braeden, was so ecstatic he told his dad, “I’ve waited my whole life for this!” Braeden is 9.
“It was well-played by him,” Jackson said. “I cracked up when I heard that.”
Jackson spent his first nine years in the NFL with the Buffalo Bills, and he became the heart and soul of that organization. Jackson meant so much to the city of Buffalo that when the Bills released him before the season, a reporter from the Buffalo News flew with Jackson to Seattle to track his first few days on a new team.
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Jackson wanted to go to a team that could compete for a Super Bowl right now. His Buffalo teams never finished better than 9-7, and they did that only once. He lost 86 games as a Bill.
“We had been out of it in Buffalo going into the last two or three games (of the season) ever since I was in Buffalo,” Jackson said.
It’s a contrast to what many of Seattle’s most prominent players have experienced.
Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor and Russell Okung have made the playoffs in five of their six years in the league. Richard Sherman, K.J. Wright and Doug Baldwin have made the playoffs four out of five times.
And Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, J.R. Sweezy, Bruce Irvin and Jermaine Kearse have never missed the playoffs. In fact, almost half the Seahawks’ roster has never been on a team that didn’t make the playoffs.
“I don’t think much of that was put into perspective until I saw Fred’s tweet about it taking 10 years,” Wagner said. “How blessed am I? I’ve been to the playoffs every year, been to the Super Bowl twice. There’s not much I can complain about.”
It’s why coach Pete Carroll made a point to tell his team about Jackson and defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin, who hadn’t made the playoffs in his first seven seasons before joining the Seahawks.
It’s why Jackson said he signed with the Seahawks, even though his family remained in Buffalo. And it’s why Jackson had so many Bills fans reach out to him on Twitter after the Seahawks clinched a playoff spot Sunday.
“They’ve all shown me a tremendous amount of love and respect, saying that they were happy for me,” Jackson said. “It’s one of the things I’ve gotten the most over the last couple of days.”