Steven Jackson decided he wanted to play for a Super Bowl contender and left the St. Louis Rams this offseason. On Thursday, he signed with the reigning NFC South champion Atlanta Falcons.
ATLANTA — Running back Steven Jackson is leaving St. Louis to pursue a Super Bowl with a contending team, agreeing to terms with the Atlanta Falcons on a three-year deal Thursday.
ESPN.com first reported the signing.
Jackson, 29, spent nine seasons with the Rams, including eight straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons. He is the active leading rusher in the NFL (10,135 yards).
But Jackson, drafted 24th overall in 2004, has played in the postseason just once — with one win — and voided the final year of his contract with the Rams to enter free agency for the first time. That deal would’ve paid Jackson $7 million in 2013.
The Falcons had the best record in the NFC in the regular season in 2012 at 13-3. They lost to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game and released starting running back Michael Turner, who led the team with 800 rushing yards on 222 carries (3.6 yards per attempt).
Durability is often mentioned as a concern for Jackson, but he missed only 13 games in nine seasons in St. Louis and played through a slew of minor injuries. Because of his age and higher mileage, the Falcons are certain to blend change-of-pace back Jacquizz Rodgers more frequently.
He had 94 carries last season with the Falcons and coach Mike Smith said in February the coaching staff would be confident in him if he’s pushed into a role as an every-down back.
Falcons veteran center McClure, 36, retires after 13 seasons
ATLANTA — Understated and brief, as one would expect, was Falcons’ center Todd McClure’s tact announcing his retirement Thursday.
McClure potsed the following message on his personal Twitter account: “Huge thanks to everyone for all there well wishes. I am retiring an Atlanta Falcon. More to come at press conference after owners meetings,” McClure wrote.
The owner’s meetings begin Sunday in Phoenix, scheduled to run through Wednesday.
McClure, 36, contemplated retirement two years ago but opted to return. He played a total of 13 seasons in the trenches for the franchise.
He started all 16 games in 2012 and 198 games in his career, setting the franchise record for consecutive starts with 144 from 2002-2010.