PITTSBURGH - There was a Brandon Jackson sighting Sunday at Heinz Field.
The Cleveland Browns running back made a rare game-day appearance, rushing for 54 yards on eight carries in a 24-10 loss to the Steelers. It was just the second game this season in which Jackson has played. He caught two passes for 20 yards in the opener against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Jackson was inactive the next 14 weeks. He finally got a chance to play when Trent Richardson was sidelined with an ankle injury.
"When you're asking those questions, you're asking the wrong person," Jackson said of the where-have-you-been question. "I've been ready all season. I finally had the opportunity to show what I could do. I felt like I did that. Just go into the offseason with high hopes of getting on a team."
Jackson contributed to the Green Bay Packers' Super Bowl-winning season in 2010. He then signed a two-year contract with the Browns, but a toe injury suffered in preseason sidelined him all of last season.
Jackson then faced the unfortunate situation of being on a team that drafted Richardson third overall. It didn't help Jackson's cause that Montario Hardesty, a second-round pick in 2010, was healthy after suffering a serious knee injury prior to the start of the 2010 season.
Jackson has been stuck behind Richardson, Hardesty and Chris Ogbonnaya on the depth chart. With Richardson out, he shared carries with Hardesty and Ogbonnaya and averaged 6.8 yards a carry.
"I talked to Pat (coach Pat Shurmur) about it," Jackson said. "It was what it was. I wanted him to know that I was frustrated about it, and I was, but I handled it like a pro. I came in every day working hard and waiting on my opportunity. I finally got it, and I'm excited about it."
The strange thing about Jackson's lengthy absence was that he played a significant role for the Packers in 2010 after Ryan Grant went down with a knee injury in the first game. He rushed for 703 yards and added 342 yards through the air.
"You ask yourself questions like that all the time," Jackson said of his mysterious disappearance from the offense. "Just wondering what's going on. Why am I not playing? At the end of the day I just rely on my faith and my wife to continue to help push me forward. I made it to the last game and had fun. Now we'll see what this offseason is going to bring."