BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) — DeSean Jackson wants a piece of that money the Philadelphia Eagles have been throwing around. Just don’t expect him to turn into T.O.
The two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver ended his 11-day holdout and reported to training camp on Monday. He didn’t practice in the morning, but was on the field for the afternoon walkthrough at Lehigh University.
Jackson is slated to earn $565,000 this season, the final one of his four-year rookie deal. He caught 47 passes for 1,056 yards and six touchdowns last year, and his 22.5 yard-per-catch average was best in the NFL. He also averaged 11.6 yards on 20 punt returns, including a 65-yarder for a TD that beat the New York Giants on the last play of a game in the Meadowlands on Dec. 19.
Jackson has a different approach than the previous diva receiver that wanted a new contract from the Eagles. Terrell Owens ended up being kicked off the team midway through the 2005 season after a series of infractions, including criticizing management and feuding with quarterback Donovan McNabb. Just several months after helping the Eagles reach the Super Bowl, Owens was such a nuisance that he was sent home from camp, leading to that infamous news conference where he did sit-ups on the front lawn of his house in Moorestown, N.J.
Jackson has the same agent — Drew Rosenhaus. The similarity ends there.
“I feel good to be back and I’m happy to be back out here with my teammates,” he said. “I have to be a professional about it. I can’t cry. I can’t moan about it. Being a man about the situation more than anything. I’ve been through a lot in my life. A lot of people said a lot of things, I was always too small, a lot of negative things. But I was still able to go out there and prove a lot of things on the field. I think my game speaks enough for everything and the only thing I can really control is playing between the white lines. I can’t really control contract or anything else. And realizing that, I just want to go out there and let my play talk for itself. I really don’t have to do any of the talking.”
Jackson’s teammates were thrilled to have him back.
“It’s great to have DeSean back,” quarterback Michael Vick said. “More so, DeSean is excited to be back which is good, he’s ready; ready to come back and help this football team win games. I’ll tell you what, it’ll be a breakout season for him. He’s going to be a phenomenal player in this league as he’s always been.”
The Eagles were one of the most aggressive teams in the NFL once the lockout ended. They signed 12 free agents in the first six days, including Pro Bowl cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Babin, quarterback Vince Young, running back Ronnie Brown and defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins.
If Jackson hadn’t reported by Tuesday, he could’ve lost a year of service time toward free agency.