The Buffalo Bills released veteran running back Fred Jackson on Monday, shocking most of the football world with the move. Jackson, 34, was due to make $2.35 million this season, which likely had to do with his release from the team.
Jackson has been in the league for nine years, all with the Bills, which made him one of the longest tenured Bills players. He had hundreds of teammates in Buffalo and formed relationships with a massive group of players.
Needless to say, the move had a big impact on his former teammates as they were shocked by the move.
"To me, Fred was the governor of Buffalo," Bills safety Aaron Williams said via Syracuse.com. "Everybody looked up to him. It wasn't just the guys in the locker room. If you ask any of the fans in the community, they'll tell you that 22 by far is probably the No. 1 favorite in the city. What does it mean to lose him? Deep blow for us in the locker room and people in the community."
Jackson was supposedly one of Williams' best friends as the two had grown close during their time in Buffalo. So much so that Williams honored Jackson by wearing his jersey to practice on Monday after his release.
Defensive tackle Kyle Williams, who's been with the Bills for ten years, played alongside Jackson longer than any other player.
"At a point, it becomes bigger than football," Williams said. "You spend 10 years together, you have families the same age. You spend time together, you really live life together. That's especially what makes it tough."
For center Eric Wood, he was especially surprised after seeing Jackson's opening carry against the Steelers on Saturday. It was Jackson's triumphant return from injury after missing several weeks.
"Yeah, I think a lot of people were surprised, especially that first run [against Pittsburgh]. That was awesome, that was a lot of fun. It was awesome hearing the fans all cheer "Freddy" one last time -- that was really sweet."
The Bills are now faced with the challenge of replacing Jackson -- both on the field and in the locker room. He was a leader for this team and will clearly be sorely missed by Bills players.
Fortunately for Jackson, he's reportedly found another team already. He's visiting with the Seattle Seahawks on Tuesday, with a deal expected to get done.