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Steven Jackson still wants to play, eventually retire a Ram

ST. LOUIS -- As the NFL's leading active rusher, Steven Jackson has been able to check off a long list of individual accomplishments throughout his 11-year career.

But it's a lack of team success -- Jackson has been to the postseason just once -- that has the free-agent running back looking for an opportunity to keep playing.

"That's the thing," Jackson told ESPN.com. "I have all the things I've accomplished personally, but I've still never been on a team that won more than eight games. That would be definitely one of the things that I'm looking for is that opportunity in my next chapter."

Jackson, 31, spent his first nine seasons toiling as the lone star on a St. Louis Rams offense that almost exclusively leaned on him for production after the departure of star receivers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt.

Along the way, Jackson endured a lot of losing but still managed to become the leading rusher in franchise history (10,135 yards), surpassing the likes of Marshall Faulk and Eric Dickerson. His eight consecutive 1,000-yard seasons made him one of six backs in NFL history to hit that milestone.

When Jackson had the opportunity to test free agency in 2013, he and the Rams mutually agreed to part ways, with St. Louis wanting to get younger at the position and Jackson looking for a chance to win.

Jackson signed a three-year, $12 million deal with the Atlanta Falcons, a team coming off a narrow loss in the NFC Championship Game. Many thought Atlanta was just a stable running game away from taking the next step to the Super Bowl.

That thought proved untrue, as the Falcons slipped to a combined 10-22 in Jackson's two seasons. The team released him in February.

Despite that not working out, Jackson still wants to play -- but only if the situation is right.

"I don't want to go to a team that is rebuilding and needs me to come on and teach guys how to be professional," Jackson said. "I've done that. I've been more than vocal about wanting to help young guys, but at some point I have to be a little selfish. I want to be part of a winning team because when I do hang up my cleats, I can see a lot of people holding that over my head when a lot of it was out of my control."

In the meantime, Jackson has taken up the case for preserving the workhorse running back. In a series of humorous videos on a website he created called savetherunningback.org, Jackson pleads the case for the every-down back, a position he believes has been wrongly devalued around the league.

Off the top of his head, Jackson says there are only about seven or eight true bell-cow running backs still in the league, and though the videos have a comedic tone, he strongly believes in the message behind them.

"I think people are trying to drown out my seriousness and this movement because they know I'm on to something," Jackson said. "A lot of people don't want to report the things I'm talking about because they don't want to piss off general managers and owners, to be quite frank. So I felt as the active leading rusher in the NFL, it was on me to carry the torch and talk about how the position is being devalued.

"I've talked to Hall of Famers like Eric Dickerson. I've talked to guys as young as Melvin Gordon. We're talking about two or three generations between each other, and we all feel the same way. So I know what I'm trying to do and the attention I'm trying to bring to it is meaningful."

Jackson was encouraged by seeing Gordon and running back Todd Gurley land in the top 15 of this year's draft, but he hasn't had much success finding his own landing spot yet.

For his part, Jackson is in no rush to get a new deal and is fully aware that it might not happen. If it doesn't, he still hopes to return to the city that gave him a chance and end his career where it began.

"I definitely want to retire as a Ram," Jackson said. "It's definitely something I want and that would be to go back. ... I'll never forget standing in that meeting room and watching Isaac Bruce retire. When I saw that up close and personal, I said I want that for myself whenever I retire."