Sunday, 17 February 2019 19:47

Boston Bids Farewell to Long-Time Buzzard

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10/28/2024: Boston, MA: The Boston Buzzards announced that veteran 6th Man, Patrick Jackson, would not make the final roster for the upcoming OBWL season. P-Jack, who has spent his entire 12-year career with the Bean Birds, was originally drafted by the Buzzards with the 12th pick of the 2012 OBWL Rookie Draft out of Penn State. This draft is also where Boston selected two other cornerstones of the Buzzard franchise, PF/C Lionel Henry (Drafted 19th) and SG/SF Michael Loftin (Drafted 6th). Henry played his first 8 seasons with Boston, and Loftin remains on the roster about to start his 13th season in Beantown.

While Patrick Jackson only started 231 of his 776 regular season games in Boston, he was beloved by fans and lauded by the team's General Manager, Jason Warnke. Often utilized as the squad's 6th Man, P-Jack averaged 7.0 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.1 steals in 18.7 minutes a game over his regular season career. His best season was arguably the 2018 campaign, where he shifted between point guard, shooting guard, and small forward on what seemed to be a nightly basis. During this campaign, he helped the Buzzards to a 50-30 record and return to the National Conference Finals after being ousted with a surprise first round exit by GM Prince Armor and the 7th seed San Diego Storm just a year earlier. Averaging 11.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.4 steals in 25.4 minutes a game in 2018, Jackson proved to Buzzard Nation that he had earned the 4-year, $27.1 million extension that the team had given him just a few years earlier.

As Patrick's contract was set to expire after the 2020 season, GM Jason Warnke made the difficult and oft-criticized decision to offer Jackson an additional four-year contract at a price tag of $32 million. While his shooting was down across the board in his contract year (.391/.595/.365), Warnke felt that since the team was already over the salary cap, retaining a player who was instrumental in helping the team to a franchise best 60 wins in 2019 was in the best interest of the franchise. Many pundits from around the league criticized the move, although short of taking a roster spot away from minimum salary player, extending P-Jack's contract posed no threat either economic or with regard to fielding a competitive team.

When asked about what P-Jack has meant to the franchise and the city of Boston, GM Warnke made the following remarks:

"P-Jack was a unique player. He will be remembered as one of those core players -- Terrance Baldwin, John Lewandowski, Lionel Henry, and Michael Loftin -- who spent most of their career in Buzzard Green. He was a part of the 2016 roster who fought their way to an OBWL Championship Series with the Anaheim Archers and the 2019 squad that generated a franchise-best 60 wins. He was always a kid willing to fit in whatever role was asked of him -- be it our 6th Man or our starting point guard. He would often be matched up against our opponents best outside shooter, and up until the last few seasons was a much better defender than most around the league gave him credit for. The fans loved him -- and we loved him back. The decision to let him go at the end of the pre-season this year despite still being under contract was a very emotional decision. We had been speaking all offseason and throughout training camp, so P-Jack knew this was not a decision that was coming out of left field."

Jackson was contacted for an interview that will air on OSPN this evening. In one clip, Patrick encapsulated his career in a few brief comments:

"I love the city of Boston. I wish we could have gotten that ring back in '16 or another year. I feel like we had the firepower. I don't know how many players can say they played their entire career in one town, and were happy every minute of it. I love the fans, the front office - everyone. I hope I can play some role here in the future as I transition from player to fan."

With that, P-Jack leaves behind the last of the old-guard, Michael Loftin. Loftin, whose contract will expire after this season, still has some gas left in the tank. It will be interesting to see what decision he will make this next offseason, as it appears the Buzzards will be shedding salary to attract 1-2 superstars in the offseason. It is unlikely that the Buzzards will extend or re-sign Loftin, unless it is for a minimum contract. Even in that case, it would likely be just so that Mike can retire in a Buzzard uniform.

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