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Monday, March 31, 2014
DeSean Jackson intrigues Raiders

By Paul Gutierrez

While the Oakland Raiders having interest in free agent receiver DeSean Jackson is no surprise, a pair of veteran players speaking out in support of Jackson have helped allay team fears about the polarizing playmaker’s potential negative effect in the team’s locker room, a league source said Sunday night.

Still, the Raiders are doing research on Jackson while playing a wait-and-see game as no visit has been scheduled yet. Jackson is, however, scheduled to visit the Washington Redskins on Tuesday.

Free safety Charles Woodson, who is entering his 17th season, on Friday told ESPN radio affiliate 95.7 The Game that he hoped general manager Reggie McKenzie brought Jackson to Oakland, after necessary background checks.

“But when you talk about bringing in a guy as talented as he is, and you have that opportunity, I think you take a shot at it,” Woodson said. “And I think where we are as a team, we need all the playmakers we can have, and adding that guy would definitely help take us to the next level.”

Jackson, who played at nearby Cal, is coming off a career-best season in which he caught 82 passes for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns. He would be the deep threat the Raiders want and need. Plus, the Raiders still have ample salary cap space.

But with Jackson being reportedly linked to gang activity in his native Los Angeles and, in the wake of the Aaron Hernandez situation in New England, the NFL in general and teams in particular are especially sensitive to players’ off-the-field relationships.

Raiders fullback Marcel Reece joined Woodson in pushing Jackson, the two-time Pro Bowler took to Twitter to defend Jackson.

Unbelievable to try and pin a negative rap on someone just because you may not like them...don't believe the negativity! @DeseanJackson10

— Marcel Reece (@CelReece45) March 29, 2014

Ok...I just couldn't allow my boy @DeseanJackson10 get trashed without saying anything. Back in hiding I go for the rest of the day!

— Marcel Reece (@CelReece45) March 29, 2014

Tv is speculating I'm speaking from experience known @DeseanJackson10 a long time and he's always been the same

— Marcel Reece (@CelReece45) March 29, 2014

The 5-feet-10, 178-pound Jackson, who is only 27, has been the subject of a social media push by Raiders fans using the hashtag #DJaxToOakland.

Raiders special teams coach Bobby April also has a history with Jackson, having coached in Philadelphia when Jackson was weaned off being the Eagles’ punt returner.