What can be said about a player that hobbles off the field, denies a stretcher then waltzes back in minutes later to score the only offensive touchdown of the game? Legend in the making. That is the only appropriate phrase when describing “The InFredible Hulk.”
My stomach sunk when I saw him lying on the ground, grimacing in pain on the very first drive of the game. I started burying my head in frustration over the plethora of injuries; we just can’t seem to catch a break. I should’ve known better than to doubt Fred Jackson, though. The man is a warrior. When he waved off the cart, I, along with the entire city of Buffalo, breathed a collective sigh of relief.
His work ethic has a resounding effect on each game. Against Miami this past week, he set the tone for the offense by scoring the first (offensive) touchdown. In the last minute, he rushed the ball for better field position in order for us to clinch the game winning field goal. ALL WHILE INJURED. These are accomplishments perfectly young and healthy players can only dream of. Whether it’s a yard or a touchdown, Fred makes sure to leave his mark on the game. This is a perfect illustration of his seven-year career with the Buffalo Bills.
Week in and week out, the 32-year-old running back gets knocked down, bounces back up and performs ten times harder. He makes it tough to not absolutely admire his strength, grit and perseverance. To a young team, his influence is immeasurable. He is molding rookies and young veterans into soldiers ready for battle. When he pops up after a gruesome hit or pileup, his teammates learn that on the other side of pain is victory. Fred may not be the biggest or fastest, but you better believe he will outwork every player on that field.
This selfless type of player is exactly what the Buffalo Bills franchise has been starving for. He is undoubtedly the most selfless player in the organization, possibly even the entire league. Every week he sacrifices his body, even if it’s only for a yard. When he’s on the sidelines, you can see him pacing back and forth trying to offer some insight. His humble beginnings as a Division III college player are enough to motivate anyone. If he can overcome all of this adversity, there is no excuse for young, healthy guys boasting huge college careers. Whether he’s on the field or on the sidelines, Fred is going to shine. He is most certainly Buffalo’s diamond in the rough.
The comparison to a superhero isn’t too far off from reality; he is involved in a little bit of everything. He’s active cleaning Delaware Park, lighting Niagara Falls pink for Breast Cancer awareness, raising money for Tim Hortons’ Camp Day, supporting WNY Flash, and still finding time to devote to his wife and four kids. His commitment to the betterment of Buffalo makes him even more of a leader and role model.
His legacy to the team, franchise and community is going to be one that is overwhelmingly positive and long lasting. I am confident he will continue to tap into that fountain of youth and make a name for not only himself, but also the entire Buffalo Bills organization. I speak for all of Buffalo when I commemorate Fred Jackson for being the heart and soul of the Buffalo Bills.
This tweet sums up the entire essence of who Fred Jackson is:
Never let anyone tell U what U are capable of doing!!! If U want it….GO GET IT!!! #AlwaysMotivated
— Fred Jackson (@Fred22Jackson) September 22, 2013