WR DeSean Jackson Press Conference – Reaches Contract Agreement with Eagles
Posted Mar 15, 2012
Opening Remarks: “First off, I want to give thanks to God. It’s been a long journey and there’s been a lot of long nights. Hard work paid off.
“Secondly, I’d like to thank my mother, Gayle Jackson, and William Jackson for believing in me since day one and pushing me to the limit throughout all the adversity and negativity. I’ve always had a family and a home to go to back to that would be supportive of me. I just want to say thanks to them. Unfortunately, my dad is not here today to go through this beautiful time with me but we’re staying as strong as we can. I just want to say that Pops, this is for you and we love you and this is what we talked about since I was a little kid. Now that we’re here, we just have to keep working and stay together as a family.
“Third off, I’d like to say thank you to the Philadelphia Eagles organization. Jeffrey Lurie, the owner. I can remember toward the end of the season the conversations with just me and him looking eye to eye. Regardless of the tough times and the adversity that we went through as a team last year as I did with myself, he was still passionate enough as an owner and me as a player to look into each other’s eye’s and come to an agreement to say that we’re going to get this done. I remember that like it was yesterday and that was in December towards the end of the season. I just want to tell him, first and foremost, that I’m very appreciative of him giving me the opportunity to come back and play for a team like the Eagles. Andy Reid, since the first day he called me on draft day, he’s been like a father figure to me. He came in, and I love the way that he challenges his players in order to get the best out of them and accept nothing less. It’s a father-son like relationship that I have with him.
“To the city of Philadelphia, I wouldn’t have liked to see myself play anywhere else. This has been a home to me since day one that I’ve been here. With the problems that I’ve had with the media, even though I have love for you guys, at times things happen. When you’re dealing with the business, you have to understand that. There’s going to be times when people don’t agree with certain things you do but as a businessman, you have to go on with your life and give it your best. I’m very appreciative of the opportunity I’ve given, and I feel like it’s been a long journey and a long road. I saw this journey a long time ago, and I’m very happy that I’ve been blessed with this opportunity.”
On whether he thought at any point that this moment might not come: “At the end of the day, you never really know the hand that God is going to deal you. I live my life to be prepared for any given situation that it is at any given time. I never thought once that I might be here because I’ve always felt confident in my skills and what I can do. I just really wanted to tighten up and not necessarily prove to everybody but just show them what I can do. It’s just me being young and I might have been immature at a young age.
“Sitting back going into my fifth year in the NFL, it’s like night and day and I’m totally changed. I’m matured and I understand what it’s about now. I just look forward to the opportunity. I don’t want to look back anymore, like I said, because I’m at a point where I’m comfortable with my situation I’ve been dealt, and I’m going to go out and give it my all. It’s a challenge for myself. I live my life to go through challenges and I want the best out of every challenge I go through.”
On whether he thinks that the struggles he went through last year had anything to do with his contract situation: “Like I said, last year was last year. Regardless of the stats and the numbers I put up, I still felt I wasn’t too far off with my average per year and all that. Even when everyone else can say it’s a bad year, I was still 40 yards from 1,000 yards. I don’t really like to get caught up in that stuff. I still want to go out and play with the edge that I’m still the best receiver in the NFL and just still continuing to handle my business by stepping up and being a leader.
“Our team here is full of young leaders and I think all of us have had a lot of success at a young age but it still comes with a lot and we have to handle it in a well-mannered way. That’s what I’m going to continue to do regardless of how much money I’m getting paid and regardless of what limelight is going to shine on me. I’m going to get away from all the negative and just shine it a positive way. That’s all I’m going to focus on as I continue my career.”
On whether he thought about his father a lot during the process: “Yeah definitely. That’s one of the first things that came to my mind was my father. Like I said, I could just hear voices and remember flashbacks in times just really as a family talking about the good times and dreaming about the success. One thing my dad always said is that you can’t dream with your eyes open and you have to go to sleep and dream things and remember things. It’s good to be able to program things in your mind so that you have things to focus on.
“If you go on living your life just satisfied with the things that you’re doing and not challenging yourself, it’s really hard to get the maximum potential out of your skills. That’s something that my dad always did and that my family always did, they challenged to get the utmost out of everything that I’ve done. Now, I just have to take the bar to another level, and I want to shoot for the hall of fame and I want to shoot for the Super Bowl. That’s something I haven’t done yet. I’m a Pro Bowl wide receiver, but I want to shoot for beyond that and I’m not satisfied with that.”
On the negotiation process: “Since I’ve been franchised, it’s kind of been an ongoing negotiation back-and-forth through my agent (Drew Rosenhaus) and (general manager) Howie Roseman. That’s another thing, I want to take my hat off Howie Roseman and coach Andy Reid for believing in me regardless of what anybody said. When everybody was saying it wasn’t possible for me to get a long term deal with the Philadelphia Eagles, or he’s going to get a one-year deal until he can prove himself, Andy Reid and Howie Roseman stepped up to the plate.
“Basically, with myself, I’m accountable for it and I gave them my word that I’m going to come here and do what I can do to put everything on the line. They gave me their word, and everything else was set. I’m happy to be here and I wouldn’t want to see myself anywhere else. Having a QB like Michael Vick and with (RB) LeSean McCoy, (WR) Jeremy Maclin, (TE) Brent Celek, I can go on-and-on. Hands down, I think we’re one of the best teams in the NFL. We just have to go out there and play together as a team and not get caught up in all the distractions that are going on. From here on out, as a professional, I can say that that won’t happen.”
On whether he feels relieved now with the new deal: “Feeling relieved might be semi-enough, but it’s more of a blessing in a sense and God’s gift. It’s something no man can do, it’s the man above that really set it in stone for everything. It’s not necessarily being relieved, it’s more of a blessed feeling of getting what you’re worth and what you deserve, and being able to go out there and play at a high level. With going out there and getting paid good money and just being satisfied, you still have to go out there and play at a high level.
“That’s something I am willing to do, that’s something I live to do. I felt I was born for that stage with Sunday night lights, big games, those are games I arrive in. I just feel that my destiny with the Eagles is very bright and I’m still happy that I have five bright years to look for. In one of those years, I’m going to guarantee a Super Bowl because we’ve been close the past four years that I’ve been here. Last year, with it being a tough year, just the way we caught on fire towards the end of the year, I see this team as the sky being the limit.”
On whether he would have accepted this deal in August: “That’s a question that I can’t answer. I got the deal now and I accepted it, so I just want to move forward and continue to play football with a passion; just go out there and do what I’ve been doing the past couple of years.”
On whether he plans on still being part of the return game: “Yeah, I don’t see anything changing, honestly. Since coming here on day one, if there’s something that Coach Reid or any of my other coaches ask me to do, I’m going to fulfill that need. I just love playing football. You can ask Coach Reid himself, if you were going to ask what you think about him punt returning he’d say I’d love it like no other. It’s just a challenge. Every time they punt the ball to you, you have that challenge to make other players miss and get the end zone. There’s nothing like that so of course I’d want to do that.”
On his relationship with Andy Reid: “I think it’s just an honest relationship. He doesn’t beat around the bush and he gets right to the point. Since day one when he called me, it was a situation like regardless of what I heard from college and all the negativity, he still was willing to give me an opportunity to prove everything wrong. I basically came in and I did that. He’s a firm believer that if you come in and work hard and prove to me that this is who you are, that whatever they said before they came in I could care less about.
“If they come in and work your butt off and play hard and help this team win, regardless of the negativity that you came in with, that’s what he cherishes the most. As a player, I can accept that. As a coach, that’s really good because there are a lot of coaches that don’t really get too interactive with the players. It’s really a great opportunity because his door is always open, 24/7 you can just walk in there and just talk to him. If you keep it real with him, he’ll keep it real with you.”
On whether that helped this deal get done: “Sure, yeah. Without my relationship with Andy Reid, with the past year and everything that’s been going on, they probably could’ve turned their back and gone any other way. It’s just what we’ve been through, the good times, and of course it’s like any other relationship where there are going to be good times and bad times. Throughout it all, you still have to hold your head high and get through it. I got that sense from both parties with Drew Rosenhaus and dealing with Howie Roseman, (president) Joe Banner, and Andy Reid. We worked it out.
“That’s another thing, I would really want to tell Drew and Jason (Rosenhaus) that I appreciate everything. They stuck with me when everybody was talking whatever they wanted to talk to, and they stuck with me. I just want to tell him I appreciate him making this deal work when everybody said he couldn’t do it. I was loyal and I stuck by him, and we made it work.”
On whether he’s surprised that it came together so quickly: “That just shows you how God works. I could just remember before free agency started, everyone was saying, ‘Whoa, he’s not going to get a deal,’ and I was just like well we’re talking. So nobody knows what he knows. For myself, to hear all the negativity just drives me to go out and just keep doing what I do and that’s put up the big numbers and do the things I’ve been doing since I came to the NFL. It’s definitely a good feeling.”
On the other big WR contracts this season and how they compare to his deal: “As players, you always try and compare deals and see what other players make and this and that. Throughout my contract situation, I felt good with what was on the table. I didn’t want to pass that up. With the relationship that I have with the Eagles, I would rather take the opportunity than go anywhere else. Regardless of what money I could have got or how much more, whatever the case may be, I’m comfortable and I’m not greedy. I still have ways in my contract of making whatever I’m worth. As long as I go out there and play at the level I know I’m capable of playing at, with the money, the sky is the limit. That’s not the problem. I’m just here to play football, have fun and give this city a Super Bowl. When that comes, everything else goes.”
On whether he could have played under the franchise tag for a season: “It was just more of what was here in front of my face and what was down the road to come. I could’ve waited it out and played through the franchise tag, or I can be set right now and handle everything that I need to handle. It was a long time for me that I wanted to have everything set up in my life. That’s all I really wanted to have. I have my family that I care for to the utmost. A mother, brother, nephews, and sisters, things like that. We just worked so hard. I just want to be able to – like I said when I was a young kid – I just wanted to take care of my family and I am able to do that now.
“It’s a blessing to be able to do that now and not have to worry about certain things while I’m in the season like trying to get this or get that. All that stuff can be done so that I can go into the season and just play football, which is what I’m able to do that. I’m going to go out there and give it my all. I’m excited about the situation and I don’t want to get caught in any other ways or what happened in the past. I want to move forward on that. I’m excited, and the Philadelphia fans out there, I’m just ready for this year and this is a big year for us.”
On how much he was motivated by not being drafted in the first round: “It motivated me a lot. Coming out as the 49th pick, in the second round, and just sitting back and knowing my capability and what I’m able to bring to a football team. I know that soon they’d definitely see my worth, and coming into the NFL as a rookie, just with everything I’ve done everything speaks for itself. Just sitting here at a press conference talking, I’m ready for this and I’m ready to leave everything in the past and move forward. I’m a businessman about my own stuff.”
On the first thing that he’s going to do: “I don’t know man, that’s a good question. I’m going to be smart and make my money work for itself. I want to be asleep and be able to make money. I don’t want to spend, spend, spend, and not have anything in 10 years. I don’t want to be like that. I want learn from everybody else and have a team that sets me up.”
On longtime Eagles like DE Trent Cole and RT Todd Herremans also getting long term deals: “That’s a good feeling for players that have been through the grind with blood, sweat and tears in the Lehigh Valley. Everybody knows how heavy it is out there with training camp. There’s just so many things, and we’ve all been here for a long time and played here and grown up through the system. It’s good to see players stick with the team. Trent’s a great player and Todd’s a great player. Any time you see players like that get extended, it’s really a great thing. It shows the Eagles front office is appreciative of the players who’ve been here and we’ve been through the ups-and-downs. That’s really the only thing I can take out of that. I see the future and I see the light at the end of the tunnel, and that’s the Super Bowl.”
On RB LeSean McCoy’s going into the final year of his contract: “He’s going to be alright. He’s a young guy and he’s very talented. He has a lot of upside to himself, and hopefully he learned a lot through my situation. Hopefully he doesn’t go down the road I went through. I’ve talked to him a little bit about what I’ve been through and hopefully he’ll be alright and won’t have to go through what I went through.”
On what clicked in his mind that makes him so different from last year: “I just think life. I think every day you find something different out about life, and that’s one thing about myself. I don’t live my life satisfied and I want to challenge myself. It’s just a certain time where you live your life a certain way and for a certain period of time, I want things to change. It just became a period of time where something just snapped on. I was doing everything for my family, my bros, whatever it is, and there just came a period of time where you can’t go on doing whatever it is you’re doing. Just as hard as I get up and go to work and bust my butt on the field, everybody around me has to do the same thing.
“It just came to a point where everyone around me stepped up and accepted it as a challenge to challenge each other. When you’re a part of a company, business, or family, there are always ways in which you can challenge each other to get the best out of them. I think everyone was kind of satisfied with what it was, but there comes a point in time where you need to get the most out of it and you have a short window. We want to get the best we can out of DeSean Jackson and 60 years down the road, we can look at each other and have good times. We can have corporations and we can have businesses that are owned by the Jackson family and we can get income for it. It’s just certain ways you can set things up and that’s the biggest thing that clicked for me is taking care of my business and being professional about it and not being immature. Just stepping up and taking on the challenges.”
On what he learned from his mistakes: “What I’ve learned is to be patient in life and don’t rush things. Sometimes you get antsy and you feel you deserve this or they should give me that, but at the end of the day, there’s nothing that should be rushed. It goes way beyond that and way past that because it’s more than relief, it’s a situation that it’s almost like a magic wand just blesses you and when it comes you have to be willing to accept everything that comes with it. I think I’ve come to that point in my life where this is what I’ve chosen to do and this is what it is. I have to step up and take the challenge, and I can’t run from that. You just have to take it, be professional about it, and don’t be immature and don’t make any mistakes about it and just be professional and not make decisions I would regret.”
On whether he’ll still be happy with this deal in a few years: “I’m happy with the deal that I’ve gotten, and if I wasn’t happy, I would’ve signed it. I’m very happy with it, and I felt that I got my worth. I just want to go out there and continue to play at a high level regardless of what deals come, I’m locked up for five years and I’ll play this deal out and who knows what will happen after that. I’m just blessed to be here and I just want to say thank you.”
On whether he’ll take on more of a leadership role: “Sure. I’m going to be here to play football. I’m always first and foremost in my heart a leader, and I’m more of a leader by showing and not really by yelling and screaming in people’s faces. I think that’s more leading by example.”