What the Raiders' team doctors believed to be true in March—two months after Bo Jackson suffered a serious hip injury in an AFC playoff game—finally came to pass last week: Jackson isn't going to play football this season, and his NFL career is probably over. Now the Raiders, who were obliged to pay him a $100,000 reporting bonus last week when he showed up for, and flunked, his physical examination, must decide whether they want to retain his playing rights. "We're still reviewing our options," says Raider executive assistant Al LoCasale.
Whether managing general partner Al Davis chooses to keep Jackson, in the faint hope that he'll play again someday, has no impact on Bo's being able to collect the remaining $1.5 million due him in this final year of his contract. Jackson's money was guaranteed, and the Raiders have an insurance policy to cover them in this situation. It is probable that the Raiders will waive Jackson, who then would be free to make a new deal with any team.
Jackson's meteoric four years in the NFL invite comparison to the performance of the last spectacular player to be cut down by injury—Bears great Gale Sayers, who in 1970 suffered serious ligament damage of his left knee that ultimately ended his career. Sayers scored six touchdowns in one game in 1965 and averaged 37.7 yards per kickoff return in '67. Jackson played in baseball's All-Star Game and was voted to the NFL's Pro Bowl, and had runs from scrimmage of 88, 91 and 92 yards. Here's how Jackson's 38-game career compares with Sayers's first 38 games.
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