- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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I like honesty. So I think you have to hand it to Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson for this one. In an interview with "Monday Night Football's" Lisa Salters, Jackson seems to have admitted that he didn't put forth a full effort at times in 2011 for fear of getting injured and jeopardizing his chances of getting his contract extension.
When asked about instances when his effort was questioned, Jackson said: "I let it get to me, even though I tried not to let it. I was trying to protect myself from getting hurt -- now I'm just giving it all."
Which is really nice of him, I think. To be giving it his all. I mean, if you're a fan buying tickets to watch these guys play, it's comforting to know they're trying their hardest. So good for Jackson for making it clear to everyone before the season that this year he's going to do just that. I'm sure Eagles fans are excited for the news.
In all seriousness, we kind of knew this already, right? Jackson has talked openly about last year's underachievement, and he hasn't shied away from admitting that the contract situation distracted him from his business. I guess what's new here is that he's saying he held something back because he didn't want to get hurt, which is something we were all assuming but (I don't think) he'd ever come out and actually said.
In the end, Jackson's in the same boat as the rest of his teammates. I really don't care what they say in August about what they're going to do this year, how hard they're going to try or where they plan to have dinner on Saturday night, Sept. 8 in Cleveland. Jackson and this year's Eagles will be judged on what they do on the field. After last year, when all of the hype said they'd be great and they turned out to be average, nothing anyone says about playing hard or giving it their all or being more comfortable makes any difference to anyone.
Jackson wanted to be paid like a top wide receiver. Wanted the "respect" he says he feels he deserved from the organization. Now, he believes, he's got it, and he says that will make him play harder. I say it could go either way. But what I say doesn't matter, and neither does what Jackson says. Telling people you're giving it your all is not the same as doing it. Jackson will be much better off if we're writing about him a year from how and the idea of "giving it his all" is no longer a thing about him that people even question. And nothing he says is going to help that. He's got to go out and play. The only thing that matters for the Eagles begins in 20 days.