Fred Jackson is officially done trying for one last shot at NFL football. He is working on signing a one-day contract to retire as a member of the Buffalo Bills.
"Have it in the works now," Jackson said Wednesday while discussing his post-career plans, which include attending the NFL's Broadcast Boot Camp this week at Bowling Green State University. "That's the plan, to come back and show Buffalo that my career in Buffalo was the most important thing to me in my football career and I would love to retire as a Buffalo Bill.
"We're in the works of talking and trying to work something out that will benefit both myself and Buffalo in making it happen."
The Bills had no comment but a team source confirmed a one-day deal with Jackson is in the works.
Jackson was a fan-favorite Bills running back from 2007-14, going from an undrafted Division III player to the team's most productive rusher since Hall-of-Famer Thurman Thomas.
Jackson, 37, last played in 2015 with the Seattle Seahawks. He plans to play in the American Flag Football League's "U.S. Open of Football" this summer but chose not to play in the The Spring League – billed as "an elite developmental league and scouting event for professional football talent" – which former NFLers like Johnny Manziel are using to try to get back into the pros.
"There was interest from them, I just didn't have the time to do it this time," Jackson said. "With the four kids and everything that they're doing, my time was just consumed by those guys. I think they've had enough of me taking a lot of my time playing football, so I'm going to give it all to them now."
Jackson was asked if that meant he is officially done trying to get back to the NFL, even if a call comes this summer.
"At this point I don't think there will be any of those phone calls, but yes, I would say that I'm officially done now," Jackson said.
With that decided, Jackson traveled to Ohio this week to receive training for a potential post-playing career. He and 33 other current and former players were educated on studio show preparation, radio production and field reporting.
Jackson said he'd like to become either a game analyst on a television broadcast or a studio analyst who lends insight into the action from a desk with other former players and coaches.
"It would be great to be in a booth," Jackson said. "The two things I would want to do is be in a booth or be in a studio talking football with guys. Being able to sit around and talk football with guys that have been there and done that, get the knowledge I have of the game to fans that are watching is something I really look forward to doing."
The NFL Broadcast Boot Camp, now in its 12th year, has sent a number graduates into the field. The league said six members of last year's class are now working as broadcasters: Demarcus Ware (Dallas Cowboys), Lance Moore (Sirius NFL Radio and work for NFL Total Access), James Laureniaitis (BIG Ten Network and Sirius), Andrew Hawkins (ESPN and Octagon), Ahman Green (Madden Broadcast/Compete4Ever) and Bruce Gradkowski (University of Toledo).
Jackson and others received training this week from CBS studio host James Brown and Gerry Matalon, the former ESPN talent coach who has also advised Bills coach Sean McDermott. The biggest thing Jackson learned was to be confident that his experiences will resonate with viewers.
"We have stories of what it’s like to be in an NFL locker room and being in an actual football field, and everybody wants to know that," Jackson said he was taught. "I love to tell stories anyway, and being that I have a different perspective that a lot of people want, I think is a great tool that I’ve been made aware of and one that I’m looking forward to using."
Jackson had a TV show in Buffalo on WBBZ at the end of his career but never had a formal training in broadcasting. He majored in sociology at Coe College.
Jackson said one of his first calls when he leaves Ohio will be to Steve Tasker, the Bills Wall-of-Famer who now works for CBS and will be partnering with John Murphy on the weekly radio show "One Bills Live."
"One of the things they tell us a lot of is reach out to the people that we have a lot of contact with and pick their brain as much as possible," Jackson said.
Bills running back LeSean McCoy was also scheduled to attend the event but had to pull out.
Other current and former players in attendance were: Rahim Abdullah, Cliff Avril, William Blackmon, Alex Boone, Tre Boston, Brandon Boykin, Bobby Brown, Nolan Carroll, Marcus Cromartie, Carey Davis, Tanard Davis*, Ahman Green, Tori Gurley, Joselio Hanson, Benjamin Hartsock*, George Iloka, D'Qwell Jackson, Cameron Lynch, Deuce McAllister, Arthur Moats, Brandon Noble*, Daniel Orlovsky*, Jerry Porter, Carlos Rosado, Eddie Royal, Reggie Walker, Nate Washington, Michael Wilhoite, Donald Willis, Wesley Woodyard*, Corey Wootton, Cameron Worrell*, and K.J. Wright. (Asterisks indicate boot camp "veterans.")