Steven Jackson talks cutting dreadlocks

April, 19, 2012
4/19/12
10:08
AM ET
Steven Jackson, Robert Griffin IIIGetty ImagesSteven Jackson might keep his braids until retirement. Robert Griffin III wonders whether to cut his.
Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, likely the No. 2 pick in the NFL draft next week, went on social media a few days ago wondering whether he should cut his trademark dreadlocks.

For St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson, he knows exactly when he's cutting his hair.

"Originally, I thought I should cut my hair when I got married or had kids, but I have a better idea," said Jackson, 28, who has played for the Rams since 2004. "I'm going to cut it when I retire. I'm going to use that as a transition to my next life: mogul."

Don't doubt Jackson.

Born and raised in Las Vegas, Jackson had a 3.8 GPA at Eldorado High School. He rushed for 81 touchdowns and more than 6,000 yards. His parents stressed education all the time.

"I had to be willing to sacrifice and stay at home occasionally and not party," he said. "It's tough when there is peer pressure to be one of the cool kids. But my parents wanted to make sure I had a great education."

Jackson then went to Oregon State, where he had a stellar career before leaving for the NFL after his junior year. He had more than 4,500 all-purpose yards for the Beavers.

"When I went to college, that's when I started to grow the dreadlocks," Jackson said. "It signified me missing my family. Each one of them were represented in a lock of hair."

That tradition of keeping his hair long continued after the Rams drafted Jackson eight years ago. He's rushed for more than 9,000 yards and is averaging 4.3 yards a carry. He still has a few years left in the tank, but he's already looking ahead.

At the same time, he's giving back. He created the Steven Jackson Foundation to promote strong educational values among today's youth, especially those back in his home city of Las Vegas. Jackson wants to help change the nearly 50 percent high school drop-out rate in that area.

"I came from a great home with two parents, but the majority of young people there come from struggles," Jackson said. "I'm trying to show that education can help you get out of that environment and do something positive with your life."

And Jackson is ready to cut his hair.

"After football," Jackson said, "I'm going to be the second coming of entrepreneur Magic Johnson."

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