Eagles' DeSean Jackson ends holdout
Graziano: Time To Commend DeSean
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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.
"The relationship I have with the team and the front office, I think everything will work out," Jackson said. "I'm just going to keep everything positive. I don't want to turn it into anything negative. I love Philadelphia. I love the fans here. Coming back out here onto the field, the fans showed me a lot of love and stuff. I just want to keep that positive thing going."
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.
"My first three years, the things I accomplished, it's been off the charts but there's still always room for improvement," Jackson said. "That's one thing I realized. Being an Eagle this year is something I look forward to. I've always wanted to be an Eagle. Because I held out a couple of days or whatever it was, that doesn't mean I don't want to be an Eagle. Like I said, I just had to handle what I had to handle. I'm here, I'm ready to move forward, I'm ready to play football, I'm ready to help win games."
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.
Eagles' Explosive Weapon
DeSean Jackson has arguably been the most explosive player in football in his 3 years in the league. Since 2008, no players have more total touchdowns (rush, Rec, Return TD) of 50-plus yards than Jackson's 13 during that span.
Most TDs of 50-plus yards, since 2008
— from Elias Sports Bureau
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.
The team is willing to talk to Jackson about a contract extension, a senior team official told ESPN's Sal Paolantonio last week, but no formal negotiations have taken place.
If Jackson hadn't reported by Tuesday, he could've lost a year of service time toward free agency.
Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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