Fred Jackson takes parting shot at Bills GM Doug Whaley following release

Fred Jackson, sports

Fred Jackson endeared himself to the city of Buffalo, and it embraced unconditionally him in return. But that didn’t stop the veteran running back from feeling wronged by the Bills when he was released this week after nine seasons.

Speaking publicly for the first time since being cut, Jackson thanked Bills fans for their support then criticized general manager Doug Whaley.

“Doug Whaley was behind it, to my knowledge,” Jackson told The Buffalo News in an interview Tuesday. “He wasn’t honest with me the entire time that I’ve known him. I have the utmost respect for the organization. There’s only one person in that organization that I haven’t gotten honesty from, and that was him.”

Whaley offered little explanation for Jackson’s release Monday, insisting that it was an organizational decision approved by owners Terry and Kim Pegula. Otherwise, the team has remained quiet amid backlash from its sour fan base.

“We thought, for us and at this time, we had to make this decision,” Whaley told reporters,via “There are a lot of circumstances that go into that, but we will keep that in-house for competitive reasons.

“We also let everybody know that everybody was on board. Reluctantly because of the magnitude of this player and what he means, not only to the Buffalo Bills, but to the community of Buffalo — him and his family. So we talked to Terry and Kim and conversed with them and decided that this was the best time to make that decision.”

A separate report by The Buffalo News on Monday said Whaley “went rogue” in his decision to cut Jackson. In March, sources told the newspaper Jackson “isn’t going anywhere” because of Terry Pegula’s insistence that he remain with the team.

Jackson didn’t elaborate on his criticism of Whaley, who joined the Bills in 2010 and took over as GM in 2013, except to say that the decision surprised him based because he expected to have a significant role with the Bills’ offense based on coversations with Whaley.

“I was definitely blindsided,” he said. “I was not given that indication. I was under the impression that I had done enough to show I can still contribute to the team. To come in on the first cut with 10 days left, it definitely caught me off guard.”

The 34-year-old had been with the organization since it signed him to the practice squad in 2006. He eventually amassed 5,646 rushing yards — third-most ever by an undrafted running back — and 30 touchdowns in his Bills career.

“I have the utmost respect for the organization,” Jackson said of the Bills, via The News. “They gave me a shot, allowed me to play most of my career. I’ll always be happy about that, but at the same time they closed the door on me playing there, too. There’s a little motivation there. It’s a business. Those decisions are made as such.”

Bills fans started a petition shortly after news broke of Jackson’s release, urging the team to reconsider. It had gained more than 12,500 signatures by Tuesday night.

Source: MSN Sports

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