Steven Jackson is the reason I'm a Rams fan, and an entire generation of Rams fans most likely feel the same way. Not all of us are old enough to have witnessed great Rams of old. I wasn't alive to see Eric Dickerson, Nolan Cromwell, Jack Youngblood or Deacon Jones. And the Greatest Show On Turf exploded onto the scene when I was only 13 and was over in a flash.
Steven Jackson was the first Rams star who was a mainstay year in and year out for me. Steven was the face of the franchise and the glint of hope in this Rams fans' heart. After every season, his play seemed to be the only positive thing I could reflect on. And as failure after failure passed, Steven endured. He never winced nor complained to the media. He never asked for a trade or more money. He was the epitome of a team player. I looked to Steven to see how I should conduct myself on the football field.
I started playing varsity football in 2004 and my dad, a Bears fan, always taught me to be humble and work hard for everything. Although he was a Bears fan, my father always made sure I was watching Steven. Watching how Steven Jackson went about his business helped show me how a true man handles failure and success. Steven embodies the best of the NFL. He isn't a diva and he doesn't "make it rain." He was my football role model. So once I heard of Steven leaving the Rams I began wondering if he had as large of an impact on others as he did on me.
Recently I asked people on twitter what their favorite SJax memory was and the amount of unique responses amazed me.
@hawkwayoflife when he bulldozed over the ref— Mark Lujan (@mark_azcats20) March 8, 2013
@hawkwayoflife Screaming at Saffold in the huddle (after false start) and willing the Rams to a win vs Saints in 2011.— Wynnde (@wynnde13) March 14, 2013
Even some Rams players, past and present, weighed in.
Leonard Little (@DBL_L_01) March 14, 2013
Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) March 14, 2013
Torry Holt (@BigGame81) March 14, 2013
Steven Jackson owns the hearts of many Rams fans and him changing teams wont change that. To show just how much of an impact Steven had on this team and this community, Rams owner Stan Kroenke tweeted out his own personal thanks.
"For nearly a decade, Steven Jackson served as an inspiration for his St. LouisRams teammates and our fans. (Continued)...— St. Louis Rams (@STLouisRams) March 14, 2013
"Off the field, his generosity and unselfishness improved the lives of manyfamilies in the St. Louis community." (Continued)...— St. Louis Rams (@STLouisRams) March 14, 2013
"We will always be thankful for hiscontributions to our team and region and wish him success moving forward."(End)— St. Louis Rams (@STLouisRams) March 14, 2013
Steven Jackson came into this organization and community with class and he left with class.
To the entire ST. LOUIS RAMS organization, THANK YOU for believing in me & allowing me to be an integral part of this team for so many years— Steven Jackson (@sj39) March 14, 2013
All that is left to say is thank you, Steven. A million times thank you.