Eagles

5 takeaways from DeSean Jackson's introductory press conference

5 takeaways from DeSean Jackson's introductory press conference

DeSean did what DeSean always does.

He put on a show.

DeSean Jackson’s introductory press conference — his first one with the Eagles in 11 years — was typical DeSean. He was funny, engaging, honest and entertaining.

It was weird seeing him up there, more than a decade after the Eagles drafted him out of the University of California in the second round. But he said all the right things. 

Here are five takeaways from DeSean’s chat with the media on Thursday morning:

1. DeSean was 27 his last season with the Eagles, and now he’s 32, and that’s a big difference. I had heard he had grown up a lot since leaving here and going to Washington after the 2013 season, and honestly, he came across much more mature and much more, I don’t know, grown-up than the DeSean we saw when he was an Eagle.

When I was younger, I had the world at my hands — coming into the NFL as a rookie, starting and having all that success early in my career. It was kind of hard to get a hold of that at a young age, you know? But you have to go through things in life in order to mature. But now I have a family, I have kids and I do everything for them. And I just think about what’s the legacy I want to leave when I’m gone. What do I want people to say about me? And I want it to be I put it all on the line for my teammates, my family and my coaches.

I don’t think it’s an act, either. DeSean has been in the league for 11 years and has seen a lot of young players who didn’t grow up fall by the wayside, get into trouble, just stop doing the things that got them there. At some point it clicked for him that he had to mature or he wasn’t going to last.

2. It’s important to remember that DeSean already has a great relationship with Doug Pederson. They were together for four years — Pederson was on Andy Reid’s staff here from 2009, Jackson’s second year, through 2012. Andy Reid considered Jackson a son to him. They were very close. And Pederson is cut from the same cloth. He’s a real player’s coach, and it’s important that Jackson respects his head coach.

Got a great relationship with him,” Jackson said. “I respect him to the utmost. It was crazy last year when (the Eagles) came to Tampa Bay. I remember a player got hurt, and he came out on the field and said to me, ‘Why are you so mad at me?’ (laughs). It’s not you, man. But at the end of the day we’ve got a good relationship. Doug’s my guy. I think we’ll gel great together.

3. I was impressed with D-Jack’s emphasis on team goals ahead of individual goals. Again, only time will tell, but he vowed he doesn’t care about his numbers, just how the team does.

Expectations I have for myself honestly are to come back here and just win. That’s the most important thing. If you ask anybody in this building what’s the point in bringing a guy back like me, you know? It’s to help this team win. I’m not in it for any other reasons. Individually, accolades and all that stuff are great but I want to win. I want to be able to put some jewelry on my finger.

4. He also spoke at length about how he’s learned how to take care of himself physically in a way he didn’t have to when he was younger. I found this really encouraging.

At a young age, you don’t have to look at how I’m taking care of my body or how much am I resting or how much am I partying or how much am I doing all the wrong things. I think as you get older you mature. You wake up and you say, ‘Oh my body’s hurting a little more, maybe I need to sit in the hot tub a little longer, maybe I need to get to work earlier, get on the field and go stretch out.’ It’s just little things like that that as a young kid, when I was 24, I didn’t have to do. I could just wake up out of my bed and go run. I used to always say cheetahs don’t stretch and I looked at myself as a cheetah, but now I’m a little older and these joints hurt a little more so I have to take care of my body a little more.

5. I also really got the impression DeSean genuinely wants to be here and isn't just another older player looking for one last paycheck. He's an emotional guy, and his happiest NFL seasons came here playing with Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick. And he hasn't won a playoff game since his rookie year.

Going into my 12th year. I’m 32 but I still feel like I’m running and playing like a 26-year-old. I want to end my career here.

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Eagles release linebacker Zach Brown

Eagles release linebacker Zach Brown

Three days after linebacker Zach Brown called Kirk Cousins “the weakest part” of the Vikings’ offense and one day after Cousins threw four touchdowns against the Eagles, the Eagles parted ways with Brown.

The Eagles signed the one-time Pro Bowler this past offseason to a one-year, $1.4 million contract, but he played only six games and made virtually no impact. He was credited with 29 tackles and two pass breakups.

The move came after head coach Doug Pederson met with the media earlier in the day and without comment. Pederson is not scheduled to meet with the media again until Wednesday.

The Brown signing was a big deal when the Eagles signed him in May. He was expected to help offset the departure of Jordan Hicks, who signed with the Cards.

Brown’s $1 million base salary and $400,000 signing bonus were guaranteed.

The move doesn't affect the Eagles' salary cap since Brown was playing on a one-year deal and his base and signing bonus were both guaranteed.

How much of the move was related to Brown’s ridiculous trash-talking last week, which backfired in embarrassing fashion, and how much was related to his nondescript level of play isn’t clear.

But the timing of the move is very unusual for a starting player and indicates there were important factors in play that led to the move beyond his performance on the field.

It's reminiscent of the Eagles releasing Jason Babin 11 games into the nightmarish 2012 season one year after he had 18 sacks.

Whoever winds up signing Brown will be his fifth team in the last five years.

Brown played 271 snaps in the Eagles’ first six games, second most of any linebacker behind Bradham’s 352.

The Eagles, who released cornerback Ryan Lewis earlier in the day, do have two open roster spots. One is expected to go to Jalen Mills, and the other would likely be a linebacker.

Former CFL star Alex Singleton, who had such a strong training camp, is on the practice squad and would be an obvious choice to replace Brown on the active roster.

With Nigel Bradham dealing with an ankle injury he suffered Sunday in Minnesota, the only healthy linebackers currently on the roster are Kamu Grugier-Hill, Nate Gerry, undrafted rookie T.J. Edwards and recent acquisition Duke Riley. Edwards has played only 12 defensive snaps this year — 10 of them in garbage time Sunday — and Riley hasn't played any.

Brown, who turns 30 next week, is in his eighth season. He was originally a second-round pick of the Titans in 2012 and spent four years with Tennessee, one Pro Bowl season with the Bills and two years with the Redskins before joining the Eagles.

The only news Brown made during his stay in Philadelphia was when he ripped Cousins, his former teammate with the Redskins.

After Cousins and the Vikings embarrassed the Eagles on Sunday, Brown declined to talk about it or apologize for his remarks.

The Vikings' Twitter account didn't hesitate to mock Brown after the game, although it did slightly misquote him.

Not the legacy anybody expected when the Eagles signed Brown.

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Eagles make move that seems to indicate a Jalen Mills return

Eagles make move that seems to indicate a Jalen Mills return

The Eagles on Monday afternoon made a move that seems to be a good sign Jalen Mills will return this week. 

A few hours after Doug Pederson said he expects Mills to practice this week, the Eagles waived cornerback Ryan Lewis, possibly to create a roster spot for Mills. 

Mills, 25, is still on the Physically Unable to Perform list with a foot injury that has kept him out nearly a year, but should practice this week and could be ready to assume a role on defense this Sunday night in Dallas. 

“We’re going to incorporate Jalen Mills a little bit this week in practice, we’ll see where he’s at at the end of the week and if he’s capable maybe there’s an opportunity there (for him to play),” Pederson said.

If Mills returns to practice this week, the Eagles will have three weeks to either add him to the active roster or place him on Injured Reserve. It looks like he’s clearly coming back to the Eagles’ roster and it seems like it will happen sooner rather than later. 

But even if Mills plays this Sunday, don’t expect him to have a huge role. He hasn’t played in a game since Oct. 28 last year in London. The Eagles will need to bring him back slowly. 

In addition to Mills, Ronald Darby (hamstring) is also expected to practice this week. While Mills and Darby aren’t saviors, they should at least help a secondary that was completely gashed by Kirk Cousins in Minnesota this past weekend. 

Lewis, 25, was signed to the Eagles’ practice squad on Oct. 1 and was called up on Oct. 4. He played 43 special teams snaps during his two weeks on the Eagles’ active roster. The Eagles’ practice squad is full at 10, but if Lewis clears waivers, he’s a candidate to return in that capacity.

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