Bills running back Fred Jackson was fully cleared to do all football-related activities two weeks ago coming off the fractured fibula that cost him the second half of what was shaping up to be a Pro Bowl and potential league MVP type season for him. While Jackson has very little patience to get back to playing the game he loves, he's employing a much different approach to his current contract situation.
Jackson still has a year remaining on a multi-year deal that he signed during the 2009 offseason, but Bills GM Buddy Nix has assured Jackson personally that he'll be taken care of with a new agreement.
"Fred and I have talked," said Nix. "We want to extend Fred. I'd like for Fred to finish his career as a Bill. He's meant a lot to us. I've got great respect for him. We do want Fred back and we do intend to try to work out a deal with him. I've told him that. What we said is what we're going to do."
Nix said the plan is to get a new contract done before the 2012 season starts. That leaves both sides with about seven months before the regular season begins. Jackson told Buffalobills.com that talks have not been initiated at this point.
"Not yet, but it's expected that we'll get started at some point," said Jackson. "I know they've got a lot of stuff to get squared away this offseason."
The Bills do have some priority free agents to address with new contracts, most notably some of Jackson's fellow playmakers like Scott Chandler and Stevie Johnson. What's important is both sides agree that Jackson has outperformed his current deal.
"It's one of those things where I know I've got to be patient," Jackson said. "I had a conversation with Buddy and he said they'll get it taken care of, but at the same time you just want it over with and done so you can stop worrying about it so you can focus on other things. When it happens, it happens."
Medically cleared two weeks ago, Jackson already has the itch to play knowing he was robbed of the season's last six games.
"I want to start next week," he said. "It's one of those things where I went out when I was having the best season of my career. Then I went out and we were going downhill the last couple of games I played and watching them continue to go the wrong way and not being able to do anything about it and help your team was the worst feeling in the world.
"I'm ready to get back, but at the same time I know I have to pace myself because I don't want to go out there and burn myself out before I get into training camp. It's something I'll take my time with, but I'm definitely ready to go."