A4I: Fred Jackson took the road less traveled

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HAMBURG, NY (WIVB.com) – There is an old saying “When a door closes, a window opens.” For Bills running back Fred Jackson, the doors and the windows to the NFL were tightly shut when he began his journey.

Unlike most NFL athletes, Jackson was not a star in high school. At 5’8 145 pounds, he was a backup running back at Lamar High School in Texas. His middle school coach, Wayne Phillips, helped Fred and his twin brother Patrick get an opportunity to run track and play division 3 football at Coe College, where Jackson received Iowa conference MVP honors twice.

Despite a successful collegiate career, Jackson failed to impress NFL scouts who told him he wasn’t good enough to compete at the highest level.  Instead of the NFL, he played for the Sioux City Bandits, which was part of an indoor league. He earned 200 dollars a week and worked as a youth counselor to make ends meet.  After Sioux City he played in Europe before Coe Alum and Bills GM Marv Levy signed him to the Buffalo Bills practice squad in 2006.

Jackson is now a star for the Buffalo Bills. Rather than allowing criticism to end his journey, he used it to fuel in his ride to the NFL.  He always believed in himself.  In the beginning of Jackson’s athletic career, all the doors to the NFL were tightly locked but thanks to his hard work, confidence and determination, he found the key that opened the door to his dream.

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