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Wednesday, October 31, 2012
DeSean Jackson wants to make you sweat

By Jon Robinson



DeSean Jackson hopes to turn your man cave into a home gym.

The flashy receiver is working as a spokesman for Microsoft’s new “Nike+ Kinect Training,” a game that uses the system’s motion and body-sensing camera to put you through a rigorous workout, on-screen personal trainer and all.

Or as Jackson likes to say, “the trainer is virtual, but the sweat is real.”

And he’s right, as after 40 minutes jumping around my living room while being coached by the cyber Nike fitness expert, I had to crack a window before my wife came home and asked why the house was starting to smell like a locker room.

The sweat (and workout) is indeed real, and I have the sore legs to prove it.

“I was raised on sports and football and working out, so to see it now in video games, I think it’s really going to help kids who are looking for a way to try out new training techniques,” Jackson says. “It blends real life with the video game and is a lot of fun. I’m a big-time video gamer, and I have it at the house. Me and my brother have always liked to compete to see who can do the most push-ups and things like that, so this game brings all that competitiveness to the next level.

“I like how the trainer will even come on and correct you if you’re doing something wrong in one of the exercises, so they’re actually teaching you the right way. The trainers are actually making sure you’re always in the right position.”

Here’s what else Jackson has to say about his favorite video games, “Tecmo Bowl” reimagining real life, and how the Eagles can turn their season around in the second half.

ESPN Playbook: I know you’re a big gamer. What are your favorite games right now?

DeSean Jackson: I play a lot of “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3,” “Need for Speed,” “NBA 2K13,” “Madden” and “FIFA.” I play all big games you’re familiar with.

”Halo 4” comes out in a couple of weeks. Are you a big Master Chief fan?

I never got too deep into “Halo.” I’ve played it a couple of times, and it’s a cool game, but I never played it too much. I’ll have to try out the new one.

DeSean Jackson
DeSean Jackson and the Eagles, at 3-4, have their backs against the wall in the NFC playoff race.
You not only play “Madden,” but you’re one of the most used players in the game. What’s it like for millions of people to be controlling a virtual version of you every night?

I hear it a lot about it online. People are always tweeting about it or sending Instagram posters. It’s a great feeling when I hear from people telling me about how they throw the ball deep to me and I helped them win a game. It’s cool.

You said you play a lot of “NBA 2K13.” What team do you play as?

I’m nice on that game, man. I’m the champ. But I play as the Thunder in the game, and now that they traded [James] Harden, I don’t know what to do. That was my team right there, but I think I’m still going to run as them anyway. I was really surprised by that trade. He was a key piece to that team. I don’t know if they’re going to be the same, but we’ll see.

When did your video game obsession start? Were you playing back on the old Super Nintendo?

My first system was the Sega Genesis and then the Super Nintendo, so I’ve been playing for more than a minute.

What was the first game that got you hooked?

“Madden” got me hooked, and then “Mario Bros.” always gets me, too. “Mario Bros.,” that’s my game right there.

Speaking of old-school games, did you ever see the YouTube video where they recreated your crazy game-winning punt return against the Giants in “Tecmo Bowl” form?

I didn’t see it. I’m definitely going to have to check it out.

The Eagles are still one of the most popular teams to play as in “Madden,” but you guys have been struggling in real life. What do you need to do in order to start winning the second half of the season?

We just need to go to work and do our best. Sometimes things don’t always work, but with the talent we have on our team, we just need to figure out what’s wrong, fix the problem and move on from there.

There’s a lot of talk about Michael Vick’s play this year and that he might get benched. How do you think the locker room would react if this happens? Would benching Vick divide the locker room?

To be honest, I don’t know, man. We’ve never really had to deal with this. Hopefully we’ll all stay together regardless of what happens. Everybody knows that we all need to step up in the second half. With our record, we know we need to finish strong, so we need to figure this out quick.

As a wide receiver, do you see anything different from the way Vick is throwing the ball now and how he has in the past? From your perspective, what has changed?

I really haven’t tried to get into it. I’m just trying to play my role, play my position, and as far as everything else, we just need to figure out what the problem is and fix it and not continue to just keep doing the same mistakes. Once we figure that out, we’ll be all right.

The Philadelphia fans are notorious for yelling crazy things at players. What’s the funniest thing a fan has ever screamed at you at home or on the road?

I get, “You suck!” all the time. People are always telling me I suck. [laughs] The Philadelphia fans are something that you know you have to step your game up for. We have some great fans in Philadelphia.

A lot of sports games are incorporating the Kinect microphone to enable voice commands in games. Should “Madden” add crowd taunts next year?

Definitely, I think they need to get that going.

What should I yell at you in “Madden”?

Go deep! [laughs]