ALAMEDA, Calif. – Oakland Raiders running back Josh Jacobs may make a little history if he’s named rookie of the year at the end of the season.
The Raiders haven’t had a player win the award in nearly 40 years. Running back Marcus Allen did it in 1982 when the franchise played in Los Angeles.
Jacobs could also become the first player to be named rookie of the year while playing half the season with a fractured right shoulder, something Jacobs revealed earlier this week on social media.
The 24th overall pick in the draft, Jacobs has been dealing with a shoulder injury since Oakland’s Oct. 20 loss in Green Bay when he left, received an injection, and came back to finish the game.
Jacobs hasn’t talked further about his injury. He didn’t answer questions Wednesday and was equally evasive when approached by a pair of reporters.
“Got treatment,” Jacobs said, before walking out of the locker room.
Jacobs has not practiced this week and Raiders coach Jon Gruden did not talk about the severity of Jacobs’ injury.
Not that the injury has slowed him down much.
Jacobs is fourth overall in rushing with 1,061 yards and seven touchdowns. He’s the first Oakland running back to eclipse 1,000 yards since Latavius Murray in 2015 and is on pace to finish with the second-most rushing yards in a single season in franchise history. Allen holds the record with 1,759 yards.
That he’s been doing it with a hurt shoulder makes Jacobs’ season more impressive.
“He’s tough man, he’s tough,” Gruden said. “He is a tough guy, he is a great kid, and he’s smart, and he’s a great competitor. Those are the things that people don’t see. Maybe they feel it, but he is off the charts when it comes to being on the mark in terms of his assignments, and he has a lot of pride in his performance. He’s the perfect centerpiece for our offense.”
Jacobs rushed for 104 yards last week against Kansas City, his fifth 100-yard game of the season, but the Raiders are clearly being more cautious with their prized rookie.
Jacobs carried the ball a season-high 28 times against Detroit on Nov. 3 but has since seen his workload lightened. He was limited to 16 carries against San Diego on Nov. 7 and he has had 27 carries combined during the Raiders’ last two games, blowout losses to the Jets and Chiefs.
Jacobs’ 218 total carries are the fewest among all players in the top 10 besides Indianapolis’ Marlon Mack and Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.
“Josh is special because football means a lot to him,” Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said. “I’ve been around some people before that have caught some kind of injuries and they are like, ‘Dang! I wish I would’ve played through that.’ If Josh is unable to play, I would completely understand with what he’s dealing with. But the fact that he keeps suiting up and going out there and running, not only running, but running with the style that he runs with, I don’t think enough can be said about that guy.”
Notes: DeShone Kizer has replaced Mike Glennon as the backup to Carr. Kizer, a second-round pick by the Cleveland Browns in 2017, was claimed by Oakland off waivers from Green Bay in September. . Right guard Gabe Jackson (knee) did not practice after being limited Wednesday.
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