He knows what people are thinking. He knows what people are saying.
He’ll get hurt again. He’s lost a step. He’s nowhere close to the player he used to be.
Bring it on, DeSean Jackson says.
He loves that stuff.
“Thirty-three years old and in the league 13 years, the expectation level might drop,” Jackson said Wednesday. “But the one game I did play in last year, I think whoever was watching that game knows what DeSean Jackson can still do. … The naysayers, the doubters, the non-believers, I live for that, man. My whole career, I’ve always been against the odds, so I look forward to this year. But I ain’t going to speak too much, I’m just going to show it. I’m going to show it on Sunday. I know what I’m capable of doing. I’ve got a lot of juice left in me. So for everybody sitting at home, get your popcorn ready and get ready for Sunday.”
Jackson’s second stint with the Eagles was essentially limited to one game - Week 1 against Washington, when he became the first NFL player in 25 years with two 50-yard touchdowns on opening day.
He suffered a core muscle injury a week later in Atlanta, tried to rehab for two months and lasted four snaps against the Bears in early November before finally undergoing season-ending surgery.
On Wednesday, he spoke to the Philly media for the first time since a couple days that Bears game about the disappointment of the 2019 season and his sky-high expectations for this season.
“It’s definitely an intriguing situation for me,” he said. “To go through what I went through last year and just … sit back and watch my guys go through a tough season and I wasn’t able to go out there and battle with my teammates. The thing that hurt me the most (was) I know what I’m capable of doing when I’m healthy and I’m out there on the field, what I bring to this team.”
Jackson, who spent his first six seasons with the Eagles before returning last year, ranks 8th in franchise history with 365 catches (six behind Keith Byars and eight behind Pete Pihos) and 4th with 6,276 yards (188 behind Mike Quick).
Jackson’s 31 career TDs of 50 yards or more are 2nd-most in NFL history, five fewer than Jerry Rice.
If he’s healthy …
Can you just imagine?
Jackson may have a reputation for being injury prone, but he really isn’t. In his first 11 seasons, only Larry Fitzgerald played more games among all NFL receivers.
But he said he’s learned over the last several months that it takes more to stay healthy at 33 than it did at 23.
“I’m feeling great, man,” he said. “I was able to get extra time rehabbing and kind of just taking a step back to refocus on what it is my body needs, and for me to take a whole year off, that was the first year I’ve ever missed almost a full season, so just had to refocus (and start) stretching, implemented Yoga, implemented a diet, eating the right foods and really just taking the time to take care of my body, because I felt like my first 10, 11 years there was a lot of stuff I didn’t have to do that I have to do now, so I’m just taking extra time out to stretch and prepare my body.”
For the first time, Jackson explained why he didn’t have surgery initially when he got hurt in September.
If he had, he would have been back by the middle of the season.
“If I could do it all over again I probably would get surgery the first time around, but you live and you learn,” he said. “I said I never had surgery (and) a core injury is something very different, it’s something I never experienced before, but knowing what I know now, I probably would have done it earlier.”
With Alshon Jeffery still sidelined with a foot injury, the Eagles have very little experience at wide receiver going into the season.
J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, who has 10 career catches, and Greg Ward, who’s played in seven career games, are the only other wide outs who’ve ever played a regular-season snap.
The Eagles need a healthy DeSean. Carson Wentz needs a healthy DeSean.
Philly needs a healthy DeSean.
“I’ve been a firm believer that - when I’m healthy - what I’m capable of doing, my track record, speaks for itself,” he said. “To be able to stay healthy you’ve got to take care of your body. It doesn’t come down to anything else. You’ve got to know when to push and you kind of have to know when to take it down a little bit, so I think we have a great plan … to keep me healthy and figure out how we can manage my plays and my reps so I can be playing in December and January.”
And if that happens, there’ll be plenty of popcorn to go around for Eagles fans this fall.