After nine seasons of toiling in mediocrity for the Rams, Steven Jackson sought winning pastures by signing with the Falcons in 2013.
With eight-consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, he was the man in St. Louis who replaced the man in Marshall Faulk.
But the bruising back had just a rookie-year playoff appearance to show for it. He left the Show Me State with the hopes of winning with a perennial Lombardi Trophy-contender.
A torn hamstring and the worst statistical season of his career, however, proved otherwise.
"When I came here last year, I kind of believed my own hype," Jackson said, per The Atlanta-Journal Constitution. "The team was so close to going to the Super Bowl and I thought I was going to be the missing link. Then reality slaps you. It's still a team sport. This year I know I don't have to shoulder the burden of carrying the franchise. I'm not the missing piece, I'm just one piece. I feel comfortable knowing that I can still compete at a high level. But all of the unnecessary stress is gone."
The Falconsshored up their offensive line by drafting Jake Matthews and signing free-agent guard Jon Asamoah this spring. A healthyJulio Jones should further relieve the Falcons from the doldrums of last season's 4-12 record.
If a revived Jackson can't utilize his new road graders, look for a rotation of Jacquizz Rodgers and rookie rusher Devonta Freeman to take some of the veteran's snaps.
Such is the life for a respected running back on the wrong side of age 30.