SPORTS

Steven Jackson, Now A Free Agent: 'I'm Still A Franchise Running Back'

03/07/2013 01:04 pm ET

Fresh off voiding his contract with the St. Louis Rams, two-time All-Pro running back Steven Jackson spoke with The Huffington Post during his visit to New York City. The 29-year-old, who has played his entire career with the Rams, said: "I'm still a franchise running back" when asked about the idea of splitting carries.

What are you doing here in Manhattan?

Our new year is in March. I'm getting ready to turn a new chapter. I'm going into a part of the NFL that I've never had to explore before: free agency.

Are you excited or nervous about that?

You're nervous about your future. You become accustomed to a certain way of life. You have to get on board with a new team, a new franchise, and get acclimated with a new city. Those are the challenges, but all good things.

Have you started to examine what teams could be a good fit for you?

I'm well aware of what teams may be looking for a running back, but it doesn't mean that they're going to sign a veteran running back. They could wait for the draft. I haven't come to any conclusions of where I may or may not land. Teams -- just like they do in the draft -- all posture and all use the poker face, so we won't know who's interested until it actually starts on March 12.

Are you at the point where you would pursue a winning team even if it meant splitting carries?

I'm still a franchise running back. I'm not at that point in my career yet where I feel that I need to become just a leader in the locker room. I have a lot of good football left in me, and whatever team sees my value and wants to bring me on board, that's where I'll be headed.

What does it mean to be a complete running back in the NFL?

To be a complete running back, you have to be able to run, pass block, catch the ball, make plays from an explosive part of the field. I've always taken great pride in that. There are always ways to get better, and I try to explore those things where I think I'm lacking.

You've kept yourself in terrific shape throughout your career. What is the key to that?

I believe in rest. After a long NFL season, your body definitely deserves rest to get over the stress you go through. I make sure that I'm always stretching and always eating right. When you can get your diet under control, that will really allow you to not have to work so hard in the offseason.

Is that more a matter of eating lean meats and things of that sort?

It's definitely lean meats. Everyone's different. For me particularly, it's your intake and not overeating. We tend to, as Americans, overeat. As long as I keep my portions down and I don't go too hard with junk food, I'm able to keep right around playing weight.

You're 29 years old now. What would you say is hardest thing at this point in your football career?

The recovery time. You know, when you're a younger back, you tend to bounce back faster from week to week. Now, it's Thursday [instead of] Wednesday when you feel 100 percent again.

Does that mean you're training differently than, say, seven years ago?

Actually, I train smarter now.

More efficiently, you mean?

Yeah, more efficient, exactly. When you're a younger guy, you're all over the place. You're just trying to find what works for you and find your way in your career. Now I know exactly what I need to do to get ready for a game. I'm way more efficient.

Email me at jordan.schultz@huffingtonpost.com or ask me questions about anything sports-related at @Schultz_Report.

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