Page last updated on Thu Oct 08 19:38:29 EDT 2015
Thu, 10 May 2012 03:02 AM EDT

Wiping his face with a towel, Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson says sorry for sweating under the hot, bright camera lights at a press conference to announce his contract extension. NFL odds

Jackson had better become accustomed to the limelight because he should no longer feel under-appreciated in Buffalo after signing a 2 year contract potentially worth $9 million.

“It’s a big day,” Jackson asserted. “I’m glad to be here and I am glad that this is over with and now we will be able to concentrate on playing football.”

For Jackson, the extension is a reward after he’s led the team in rushing in every one of the past 3 seasons. And it also eases any lingering hard feelings Jackson could have had toward the Bills after expressing concerns last year that he was underpaid under his previous 4-year, $7.5 million contract.

Jackson has one year left under his current agreement, and the extension secures him through 2014.

General Manager Buddy Nix lived up to the general public promise he made in the media and personally to Jackson that an extension could be reached before the start of training camp.

“We’ve always said we wish to try to keep our good players, and we’ve done it again today,” Nix said. “He was an important piece of the puzzle for us.”

In 5 seasons, the previous undrafted independent agent out of Division III Coe College has 3,794 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns in 66 games, including 38 starts in Buffalo. And that contains last year when he was being mentioned as an early-season NFL MVP candidate in helping the Bills get off to an extraordinary 5-2 start.

That was before Jackson’s season climaxed in mid-November, when he broke a bone in his right leg in a 35-8 loss at Miami. He still finished with 6 touchdowns and a team-best 934 yards rushing while averaging 5.5 yards a carry.

Jackson has also proved to be dual threat in the passing game, with 175 catches for 1,535 yards and 4 touchdowns.

He’s the latest member of the Bills self-dubbed “No-Name” offense to be retained by the team after QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, in October, and receiver Stevie Johnson, in March, signed agreement extensions. And his new contract comes during a busy offseason in which the Bills signed free-agent defensive end Mario Williams to a 6-year, $100 million agreement in March.

The moves have provoked a real belief among the Bills that they’ve an opportunity to be rivals next season in an attempt to end a 12-year playoff drought.

“I’m excited to sign the extension to stay here since I feel just like something special is getting ready to go down, and I’d like to be part of it,” Jackson said.

Jackson’s past has been an inspiration to his squad, and a reason that explains why he’s considered to be one of the Bills’ unquestioned leaders.

Undrafted leaving school, Jackson spent 2 years at the arena football league level, where he was a star for Sioux City of the U.S. Indoor Football League before catching the Bills attention.

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