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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