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Transcript: Fred Jackson Contract Extension

General Manager Buddy Nix:

Another good day for us. It's a big day for the Bills. It's a big day for Fred Jackson and his family. We always said we want to try to keep our good players and we've done it again today with what we think is one of the best backs in the league. I'm going to turn this over to Fred. It's his day, Fred Jackson.

Running Back Fred Jackson:

Big day. First and foremost I want to thank Buddy (Nix) and the whole Bills organization: Mr. Wilson and Jim Overdorf for all the work they did and they put in with my agent Ron Raccuia. They got it done. I always said that I wanted to be here and now I have that opportunity to be here. I thank my wife for putting up with me. With football I know it's not always easy, the kids love it, Grandma for watching them. It's just a happy day. I'm happy to be here. I'm glad that this is over with and now I can focus on playing football.

On the length of the contract extension:

Two year extension. I get the opportunity to be here for another three years. I'm happy about that and looking forward to it. I think we're doing some tremendous things here. I think we can get a lot accomplished in three years. I definitely want to be a part of that.

On how much this further validates his career:

It's huge. I think going into this season we've done some tremendous things as mentioned. Buddy and those guys have done a tremendous job in the offseason putting together some pieces for us to make moves and the season to come. They've done a tremendous job to keep guys around building a nucleus. It's one of those things that this is probably the most excited year I'm looking forward to just because of some of the moves we've made. Now we still got to go out and play football. There's a lot of optimism in some of the things that we've done. I'm looking forward to a lot of it.

On how this day satisfies his desires for himself and his family:

This is a day to put that to rest. Now it's just about going out and playing football. We don't have to worry about that anymore. I was just talking to Buddy and we don't even know what we're going talk about for the rest of the offseason (jokingly). It's just a way to put it to rest and just go out and focus on playing football. That's what I'm sure he wants to do is focus on all the guys that are here now and what we're capable of doing. That's what I want to do and focus on getting back out there with my teammates.

On this validating all the work that he's put in during his career:

It does. You work towards something to have a day like this. It is the cream of the crop, so to speak. It's something to look forward to. This is definitely a day I'm going to celebrate and definitely a day I'll remember. Where else would you want to be rather than Buffalo is how I looked at it. I got the opportunity to be here for another three years and that's what I'm going to focus on every moment from here on out. I'm just excited about it.

On if he still feels like he'll have a Division III chip on his shoulder:

Without a doubt. That's never going anywhere. That's kind of what got to me where I am today. I'll definitely continue to try and work hard and prove that I belong here because you have to prove that you belong here. You can't settle for anything. I won't settle. I'll continue to keep working and hopefully continue to make plays for my team.

On if he feels he's still under the radar in the league:

Definitely. It ended the way we didn't want it to. I still got to go out and show that it wasn't just last year and that it wasn't a one year thing for me. I'll definitely be motivated in that aspect of it. I've got to go out and continue to make plays. That's what I'm here for. I'm here to make my teammates better. I'm here to prove to myself that this is where I belong. I'm looking forward to it. It'll be another challenge. I love challenges. I'm looking forward to getting out there and continuing to play well.

On continuing with the high numbers he had last year before he got injured:

It's always a goal. I feel like if I'm able to go out and put out that type of yardage I'm able to help my team. It's kind of a one person doing that, I feel like if I'm able to put up those types of numbers I'm making plays that's helping us on offense. It's definitely a goal that I do want to get back to. Hopefully I can stay healthy and get through a full season and put up some numbers like that.

On how long he wants to keep playing football:

I want to play for a long time. I want to play as long as possible. To put a number on that right now I can't. I don't feel like I'm slowing down at any point in my career. The goal for me is to continue to play and to continue to play at a high level. That's what I want to do. That's just something that I'll focus on taking it one year at a time. I don't feel like I'm slowing down or have tiring in mind at any point. I can't even conceive it right now.

On how he feels right now:

I'm 100%. It's just about being back out there and getting back in football shape. You can run and do so much on your own. There's a difference between being in shape and being in football shape. Right now it's just about getting back into it and being out there with my teammates.

On how it feels to get the extension done now and not carry the talks over to training camp:

It's huge. I think that was something we both wanted to do. Just get it done and get it out of the way so we can focus on football. To do that it definitely clears up all the hoopla that could go on. I'm looking forward to like I said just focusing on football.

On the importance of staying in Buffalo:

We have a tremendous fan base and I couldn't imagine playing anywhere else. For me to still be here it was huge for me. Our fans have been with us through thick and thin. That's what I want to do. I want to be here for them because they've always supported me. I want to go out and play for them and hopefully continue to play well.

On his relationship with QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and his teammates thinking so highly of him:

It's something that they tell you, you want to go out and continue to play well for them. You want to be here for them. You want to go out, finish playing what you can and play part of your career with them. We have a tremendous group of guys here. Those guys are going to go out and lay it out on the line every week so I want to go out and lay it on the line for those guys as well.

On if he ever thought that he, Fitzpatrick, and WR Stevie Johnson could be the core of this team:

You can't predict what's going to happen. It was something that we wanted to be. It was something we talked about back then. If we get our chance we're going to stay out there and make the plays that we can. It's good to see that come to fruition. We're the guys that have to make things go on offense and I know that I'm excited about. I'm sure those guys are excited about it. It's good to have those guys here with me.

On if he can appreciate the expectations from the offseason:

We definitely can feel the excitement from not only being out with the fans that are excited with all the moves that have been made but you can feel it in the locker room. We feel like we have something that we can definitely make some moves next year. Again, we still have to go out and make plays. They're doing a great job in the front office getting us the pieces that we fell like we needed. To kind of take that next step it's exciting. I'm excited to be a part of it. I'm excited to sign the extension to stay here because I feel like something special is about to go down and I want to be a part of it.

GM Buddy Nix:

On how important it was to keep Jackson in Buffalo and his presence in the locker room:

I think it's huge. The path Fred took, and I coached in college 30 something years, walk-ons that made our team were always special. Where Fred came from and to do what he's done, the respect of the other players is natural. He's handled it well and he was a huge piece of the puzzle for us.

On the unusualness of the core guys that makes up the roster:

That stuff we do is not an exact science, scouting, so we miss guys like this. We hope we don't but you do. They come from all areas. We've got a lot of undrafted guys, not one of his caliber maybe yet at this point, but you get them everywhere. To me I think that gives you, we've said Buffalo's a blue collar team and a blue collar town, and I think that's what we are.

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick:

On how important it was to get his favorite player extended:

Very important. I think everybody knew it was going to happen. It was just a matter of when. For him to be locked up here and to be here for more years to come is awesome. He obviously means a lot to our team. He means a lot to the city of Buffalo and the fans. For us to be able to have him here and for him to be happy and to be able to put it all out there on the field, it's a great thing for everybody.

On the front office keeping guys and how important that is:

I've been asked that question over and over. You could feel the atmosphere around town here, just the momentum that's kind of picked up from all the different signings. On top of all that in the locker room it means a lot to us for someone like Buddy to step in and say, "Look, Fred's our best player. We're going to get him signed up. Trust me on that." Fred put his faith in him to get something done. For Buddy to go out and do what he's done this offseason and for him to reward guys for playing well and put it out there even before it happens. You don't see that a lot that if you play well you're going to be rewarded. Fred Jackson's played well and we're going to get something done with him. For it to happen, that's big in the locker room for guys to see that he's a man of his word. To see that we're starting to put pieces together that are really going to make this a successful team.

On having teammates like Fred and Stevie that have now become the core of this team:

All three of us bonded over that right away about three years ago now. It's cool for us. Outside of all the football talk and how excited we are about the upcoming season, just in terms of the lessons, you look at Fred and what's he's done. Just as life lesson somebody that's chased his goal for so long and to be able to accomplish it even though he was told no so many times. He had to go through so many different doors that got shut in his face and he tried to open them again and they'd get shut in his face. There are a lot of guys on the team that went through that. He's really the one that is the best example of it because of the path that he took and now to be rewarded for everything's he's done. That's something we bonded over last year as we played. It's nice to see that financially you set yourself up to where your family is taken care of and I think that's very important. Now you get out on the field and you can play and not have to worry about any of that stuff.

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