FOXBORO, Mass. — Christmas came three days early for Steven Jackson.
The veteran running back officially signed with the Patriots on Tuesday after working out for the team last week. He participated in a walk-through with his new team Tuesday and had his first official practice Wednesday.
“It’s exciting,” Jackson said Wednesday in the Patriots’ locker room. “Couldn’t ask for a better Christmas gift. Just looking forward to continuing to get better and continue to learn the way of the Patriots.”
Jackson has been out of football since going unsigned as a free agent this offseason. He had 190 carries for 707 yards with six touchdowns in 15 games last season, averaging 3.7 yards per carry.
“Initially, when the phone call happened, it was a little… surreal, but now I’ve settled down, playing football and doing what I love,” Jackson said.
Jackson joins Brandon Bolden, James White and Joey Iosefa on the Patriots’ suddenly shallow depth chart. They’ve lost starting running backs Dion Lewis and LeGarrette Blount to season-ending injuries.
“This team, they’re already a championship team, and they just needed some depth to the chart and I’m just coming here to be the best running back for the organization I can be,” Jackson said.
Jackson, who appears to be in game shape, downplayed his workout regime while he was out of football.
“I was just generally working out three days a week and jogging,” Jackson said. “Thankfully, I could continue to do that.”
Jackson spent the 2011 playing under current Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels on the St. Louis Rams, which means he knows the basics of the offense he’s joining. That doesn’t mean he knows everything, though. Jackson was asked what he and quarterback Tom Brady have spoken about the last two days.
“More about, ‘What does this word mean, and what’s the best way to do it?'” Jackson said, laughing.
Jackson leaned on his biggest supporter when he thought his days in the NFL might be over.
“You know what? Initially I did, but I have a mom with strong faith, and she continued to instill that in me,” Jackson said.
Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images