Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

April 20, 2012

Fred Jackson visits Lockport

Bills running back signs autographs downtown Thursday

By John D'Onofrio
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

LOCKPORT — An eight-year-old had some sound advice for Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson during his brief appearance in downtown   Lockport on Thursday.

“I told him to win a Super Bowl,” said pint-sized Bills fan Ben Ressler.

Jackson made a special two-hour appearance at Lockport’s historic Bewley Building, as part of a fundraiser for Niagara Hospice   and Kids Escaping Drugs, sponsored by the Niagara County Deputy Sheriff’s Association.

Hundreds stood in a long line along Market Street under sunny skies to get an autograph from Buffalo’s starting tailback,   consummate blue collar player and a Western New York fan favorite.

Ressler was the first of dozens of young fans in line and walked away wide-eyed.

“I feel super,”  Ressler said. “He’s my favorite player. He’s the best running back in the world. I told him to win a Super   Bowl.”

Jackson attended Lamar High School (Arlington, Texas) and although he was a member of the powerful Lamar Vikings teams of   the late 1990s, he never started a game in his two years on the varsity.

He played college football at Coe College, a Division III school. He was named to five All-American teams in 2002, rushing   for 1,702 yards and 29 touchdowns. He graduated in 2003 with a degree in sociology.

Considered too small for the NFL (6-feet, 1-inch, 195 pounds), he played indoor football for the Sioux City Bandits for two   seasons in the National Indoor Football League (2004) and United Indoor Football (2005).

Jackson was invited to the Bills’ training camp in 2006 by fellow Coe alumnus Marv Levy and his rise with the Bills has been   steady since. He won the starting tailback job in 2009 and eclipsed 1,000 yards.

Last year, Jackson’s 934 yards was third in the NFL when he broke his leg in a Week 11 loss to MIami, ending his most promising   season yet.

“My leg’s feeling real good,” Jackson said Thursday. “It feels great. I can’t wait to get back together with the guys and   start getting ready for the season.”

Jackson characterized his team’s acquisition of defensive end Mario Williams through free agency as “huge.”

“That was big when I first heard. We’re excited about the additions we’re making and the continued commitment to getting better,”   Jackson said.

Jackson said he wouldn’t mind seeing the Bills pick up an offensive lineman next week at the annual NFL Draft.

“That would be good for me, but the team will evaluate that and do what they feel is best for the team,” Jackson said.

“We love playing for Chan Gailey,” Jackson said. “He takes care of his

players.”