IRVING, Texas -- Imagine if you came home one day and your house was replaced by a $1.2 billion football stadium.
Welcome to Fred Jackson’s world.
Jackson will play at Cowboys Stadium Sunday as the NFL’s third-leading rusher on the very spot he once played touch football as a kid with his friends.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Jackson, who did not even star at Arlington Lamar High School. “We were young kids playing football out in the middle of the street. It will be good going back.”
He grew up an Emmitt Smith fan and wears No. 22 in honor of the NFL’s all-time leading rusher. Jackson has 803 rushing yards and 1,194 scrimmage yards. He is the first Buffalo back to average more than 100 yards a game through the first eight games of a season since Thurman Thomas in 1993.
“It’s a homecoming. I’ve yet to play there,” Jackson said. “I’m excited to play. Growing up in the state of the Texas you either want to play for the Cowboys or play against them. To get the opportunity to go down there and play, we’re coming down with a really good team that’s doing really well right now and we’ve got to win this game. You have to show up and play big.”
The Cowboys are coming off back-to-back nightmarish games for the run defense. Philadelphia’s LeSean McCoy ran for 185 yards and Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch had 135 last week. Defensive end Marcus Spears called the work “terrible.”
“Whenever a team runs the ball against you you’ve got to look at it that way,” outside linebacker Anthony Spencer said. “If you can’t stop the run in this league, it’s hard to win games. Everybodu on this defense knows that.”
It’s up to the defense to ruin Jackson’s homecoming.