Originally written March 15, 2013 on Fox Sports South:
ATLANTA On Friday the Atlanta Falcons introduced new starting running back Steven Jackson and if the organization were looking for the most compelling spokesman it could find to persuade doubters that they have a championship-caliber offense, Jackson would be their man. The confident and quotable Jackson said that the Falcons with talented players who will be all around him in the form of quarterback Matt Ryan, tight end Tony Gonzalez and wide receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White were his most desired destination. Winning is most important, the two-time Associated Press All-Pro said. I believe this will be a great chance for me to finish out my career with an opportunity of doing some special things and putting an exclamation point to what Ive accomplished so far in St. Louis. With the decision by Gonzalez not to retire but to re-sign with the Falcons, the re-signing of left tackle Sam Baker and now the inking of Jackson, the Falcons clearly have a powerhouse offense even better than the one that brought them to the NFC Championship Game, in which they fell just 10 yards short of a victory against San Francisco, 28-24. Thus, the big questions remain on defense. After Jacksons signing of a three-year deal worth 12 million, the Falcons have 5.2 remaining left in cap room. As of Friday, they lacked a starting right defensive end and a starting right cornerback. That means unless they can get players at those positions at a discount in free agency, they almost certainly will have to concentrate on those areas at the next months draft. But for the organization, Friday was about celebrating the addition of another top-flight offensive piece, one who should be a better fit in offensive coordinators Dirk Koetters pass-oriented scheme and who has still functioned near peak level. And for those who might doubt whether Jackson still has enough left in the tank, he attempted to erase all doubts. His 4.1 yards per carry in 2012 was only one tenth of a yard lower than his career average. Well, the ball doesnt get heavier as you carry it, so, said Jackson, who has 2,395 carries and 10,135 yards to his credit. The carries and the yardage -- the way I train, the way I keep up with myself, I dont believe its going to have an effect at all. My three-year commitment to this city, to this organization I look to keep on going pretty strong the whole time Im here. In comparison, former Falcons running back Michael Turner, only about a year older than Jackson and whom the team cut on March 1 because of diminishing effectiveness combined with a big contract, had 1,639 carries in his career for 7,338 yards. In truth, Turner did not always keep himself in top shape, something he attested to after a subpar 2009 season. NFL running backs like Turner and Jackson take a pounding and, increasingly, the trend is that they have become disposable. Such circumstances almost persuaded Jackson to retire one of the revelations of his press conference at owner Arthur Blanks palatial family offices in the Buckhead section of the city. I was more undecided about maybe retiring, Jackson said in response to a question about why it took him two days to pick his destination after the start of free agency on Tuesday and after reportedly visiting Green Bay. I really considered that. He said he reconsidered when he thought about how much he had accomplished as an individual but so little in a team sense. He had only played in the playoffs as a rookie, a blow-out loss, coincidentally, to the Falcons in 2004. Its hard to get a winning season, he said. I can tell you that. But he elected not drag it out his decision in the media. I was torn about, Do I continue to play football or do I retire? he said. That was one thing I admire about Barry Sanders. Jackson offered kind words to the city of St. Louis, saying he would continue to focus on charitable efforts in education, and the Rams ownership that drafted him and kept him over the years. But he also expressed affection for his new city. He has an aunt who lives in the Atlanta area and said he was at her home watching the NFC Championship Game, which was played at the Georgia Dome against his former NFC West Division rival 49ers. Jackson said the experience was gut-wrenching. I was watching it through professional eyes, but watching it with Atlanta Falcons fans, he said. Jackson said White, the Falcons four-time Pro-Bowl receiver, was a friend. He said they have exchanged text messags but had not communicated much otherwise, as White is in Africa with a few other NFL receivers, including new 49er Anquan Boldin. Jackson also said that he has known Falcons back-up running back Jacquizz Rodgers, who, like Jackson, played at Oregon State, since Rodgers was a teenager. Some had wondered whether Jackson would mind taking a smaller role in the Falcons offense. He said that he would not, but that that had nothing to do with his personal connection with Rodgers. I took great pride about being the bell cow, the one guy you always depend on, he said, and Ive learned over the years that you do need other guys on your team to be successful in this league and to be another tool in the toolbox is quite all right with me.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Giants shut out Pirates, advance to NLDS

Cowboys' Spillman accused of rape at team hotel

Report: Patriots benched WR for mouthing off to coach

Jose Bautista busts up reporter over Twitter

Sammy Watkins calls out EJ Manuel

Larry Donnell benches himself in fantasy, loses because of it

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Josh Gordon says NFL’s drug policy is harrassment

Steve Smith: Ron Rivera hid in his office after cutting me

Rondo hoping for an opening night return from broken hand

Jon Gruden on Raiders job: 'I'm not thinking about coaching'

Tom Brady defends not congratulating Garoppolo on TD

Ohio State student who ran on field loses full scholarship

Donald Sterling’s wife called the cops on V. Stiviano

Byron Scott explains why Kobe wouldn't make a good coach

WATCH: Mayweather shocked someone doesn’t know who he is

Who is the new face of MLB?

NHL 15 predicts the LA Kings win the Cup again

J.J. Watt buys his mom a new car for her birthday

Ranking the NFL coaches already sitting on the hot seat

WATCH: Smith tells Panthers to go home and mow his lawn

The best games on the NFL slate in Week 5

Aaron Rodgers says smoking gesture a tribute to Jay Cutler

What will the A’s look like in 2015?

Major League Baseball's 2014 All-Disappointment Team

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Scott: Kobe would not be a good coach

Pats WR benched for mouthing off?

Sammy Watkins calls out EJ Manuel

Donnell benches himself in fantasy and loses

Gordon: Drug policy is harrassment

Who is the new face of baseball?

Steve Smith blasts Panthers coach, GM

What will the A’s look like in 2015?

All-Disappointment Team in MLB

Ryan Lochte: Phelps made dumb decision

WATCH: Brett Favre in new commercial

Brady snubs rookie after TD pass

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.