Six years ago, Tiki Barber was met with crickets in his attempt at an NFL comeback as a 36-year-old running back.
Jackson has yet to file his retirement papers, per WGR 550’s Sal Capaccio, because the free-agent tailback believes he can still play after going unsigned throughout the 2016 season.
“I want to play, but it’s one of those things where we’ll see what happens,” Jackson said. “Training camps are around the corner. Some teams lose a back or two and maybe they give me a call. We’ll see what happens. I’m not ready to hang ’em up yet, but I do know that I’m 36 and a lot of teams are scared of that.”
Teams have good reason to be “scared” off of Jackson at this stage of his career. As one of the slowest backs in the league during the 2015 season, Jackson was limited to pass protection and checkdowns in a third-down role with Seattle.
Considering the history of 36-year-old backs, it’s fair to be wonder if Jackson has lost another step or two he couldn’t afford to lose in the intervening months.
With the exception of Hall of Famers John Riggins and Marcus Allen, no running back in NFL history has rushed for more than 300 yards in a season at age 36 or older. Only six players have ever gained more than 100 yards on the ground at that age.
After nine seasons of wear and tear at the game’s most physical position, Jackson is lucky to reach a point where he can walk away relatively pain-free if no NFL team comes calling.
“I do feel fortunate,” Jackson said in April, via The Cedar Rapids Gazette. “I’m at one of those roads now where if I do get another opportunity, do I take it, knowing that I’ve come out relatively unscathed? Do I put myself back out there in harm’s way?
“We’ll see if I even get that opportunity. My wife tells me all the time that me not playing last year, she didn’t miss worrying about me. That’s something to always take into consideration.”