Fred Jackson is ecstatic to return to Buffalo as the Legend of the Game for Sunday's Wild Card matchup with the Miami Dolphins. Jackson is just as excited to be reunited with Bills Mafia and to be a part of a thrilling Buffalo environment surrounding Sunday's 1:00 kickoff.
"I'm also ecstatic about being around the guys with all the success that they're having," Jackson said. "I'm looking forward to getting an opportunity to be around those guys and shake the hands of some of the guys that I've played against and some of those guys that I've enjoyed watching as their careers have developed into what they've become today."
The former running back spent all but one season of his nine-year NFL career in Buffalo. As a Buffalo Bill, he rushed for 5,646 yards, and tallied 30 rushing and seven receiving touchdowns.
During Jackson's time in Buffalo, the loyalty of Bills Mafia stood out to him. While Jackson will be a part of a playoff game this weekend, he never experienced one in a Bills uniform. But even when his team didn't have a winning record, he could count on Bills Mafia to show up and sell out the home stadium.
"You don't find that kind of support anywhere else," Jackson said. "When they have to trek through three to four feet of snow and come watch us play a game, and they're still doing it when we don't have the chance of playing in the playoffs. That shows you what type of commitment that community of Bills Mafia has to the organization of the Buffalo Bills."
Now that the 2022 Bills team does have a winning record, Jackson has the same expectation for all of Bills Mafia this Sunday. Being the first home playoff game with another potential home game on the line, No. 22 is looking for the crowd to ramp up from the opening kick until the final play of the game.
"Bills Mafia has always done their thing when it comes to supporting the team, being rowdy, and creating a great atmosphere for the team and I expect nothing less of them this weekend in doing the same thing," Jackson said.
On top of feeding into the playoff intensity surrounding Sunday, Jackson looks to celebrate S Damar Hamlin, who he describes as a "tremendous young man." Jackson has seen the outpouring of support and love for Hamlin, and has equally loved getting the daily updates that share how Hamlin is getting better day after day.
"You listen to a lot of his current teammates talk about him, so it's going to be on my shoulders to kind of keep that going," Jackson said. "Keep everybody uplifted, keep everybody motivated, and do what I can to get the crowd into it. Have the guys know that I'm there supporting them and it's just going be a lot of fun to take part in that this week."
"Of all the things that I've done in my playing career here, being the Legend of the Game at such a pivotal point of this season has to stack up as one of the best things that ever happened to me."