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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Getting a chance

   September 3, 2006 -- One of the great Cinderella stories in Buffalo Bills' history begins on this date.

   Fred Jackson was a heck of a running back in college. He ran for 1,702 yards and scored 29 touchdowns in 2002 for Coe College in Iowa. In fact, Jackson was a two-time conference most valuable player at Coe.

   But greatness at a Division III school is not a ticket to the NFL. Jackson played for the National Indoor Football League in 2004 and the United Indoor Football League in 2005. The Suoux City Bandits eventually retired his number.

   After a stint in NFL Europe in 2006, Bills' general manager Marv Levy gave his fellow Coe graduate a look in training camp. On this date, Jackson was placed on the practice squad roster.

   He didn't get on the field in 2006, with his NFL debut coming in 2007. Jackson's first start came against the Washington Redskins, as he picked up 82 yards rushing and caught four passes.

   Jackson's productivity went up in 2008, as he rushed for 571 yards. That was a good warm-up for 2009, when he went over the 1,000-yard mark for the first time. The running back had 2,516 combined yards for the year, one of the best totals in NFL history. Jackson got caught up in a crowd at running back for a while in 2010, but eventually he finished with 927 yards.

--- Budd Bailey


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About Sports, Ink

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has served in a variety of roles in Buffalo sports in the past 35 years, including reporter, talk-show host, baseball announcer, public relations staffer and author. He covers the Bandits and running for The News when not working as an editor.