Jackson closes in on Rams rushing record

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ST. LOUIS (AP) - Steven Jackson knows exactly how many yards it will take to become the St. Louis Rams‘ career rushing leader.

He passed Marshall Faulk for second place last weekend, ignoring a groin strain, and it won’t be long before he barrels past Eric Dickerson and into franchise lore.

“It’s 254 yards to tie, 255 yards to break it,” Jackson said Thursday.

“But,” he added with a chuckle, “Who’s counting?”

Jackson has already cemented his spot as a crowd favorite, winning over fans who felt cheated by a contract holdout a few years earlier and who offered, at times, only grudging appreciation. Many were standing in appreciation when officials stopped Sunday’s game and made sure Jackson got the ball after passing Faulk.

“It’s like one of those things where the marriage now has finally come to fulfillment,” Jackson said. “Everyone understands each other, everyone appreciates each other and we all know what we have in the relationship.

“I think I’d rather start this way than go the opposite way, meaning coming in and being loved and going out a different way.”

Jackson was the Rams‘ first-round pick in 2004 out of Oregon State as the heir apparent to Faulk, and was the backup that first year. Since then, he has been the focal point of the offense, and has 6,991 yards rushing while becoming the first Rams player to post five consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.

Dickerson had 7,245 yards from 1983-87.

“It’s a moment I’m looking forward to,” Jackson said. “And when it happens I’m going to share it with the offensive line.”

Jackson held one finger aloft after the 15-yard carry that eclipsed Faulk, but not as a proclamation of his talent. He said he was pointing to his mother in the stands.

Last week, Jackson practiced only one day and was limited, too, then suited up on game day with a pair of compression shorts plus a protective wrap. Even though he had to run with a choppier stride, he had 70 yards rushing and 64 yards receiving in a victory over the Seahawks.

He’s fourth in the NFC with 284 yards and a 3.9-yard average thus far for the rebuilding Rams (2-2), who play Sunday at Detroit (0-4). The Rams will be going for their first three-game winning streak since the final three games of the 2006 season.

“I just think it’s what all gritty players do,” Jackson said. “I’m not trying to get a pat on the back or win anybody over by being tough, I just think that’s how the game should be played and that’s how I pride myself on playing.

“If it’s something I feel I can play with, I’m more than willing.”

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