Eagles DeSean Jackson reports to training camp

Can we talk? Eagles general manager Howie Roseman and former holdout DeSean Jackson at the Eagles' training camp at Lehigh on Monday.
Can we talk? Eagles general manager Howie Roseman and former holdout DeSean Jackson at the Eagles' training camp at Lehigh on Monday. (YONG KIM / Staff Photographer)
Posted: August 09, 2011

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Rather than "cry" or "moan" about not getting a new contract - as he put it - DeSean Jackson ended his holdout from Eagles training camp on Monday.

The Pro Bowl wide receiver never did explain why he skipped the first 11 days of practice, choosing, he said, "to move forward." But Jackson's motivation for holding out was as clear as that of his agent Drew Rosenhaus showing up at Lehigh University along with his client.

Jackson wants the Eagles to rework his deal - he has one year left on a four-year contract - and to give him a significant raise.

"I think that's obvious," Jackson said after he watched his teammates go through a walk-through. "As far as how we go about getting it done - it's the biggest thing."

It's also the biggest question. How will the Eagles and Rosenhaus get an extension done? Team sources have indicated that the Eagles want to have Jackson around long-term. But a lot will depend on how far apart both parties are and the value each places on the 24-year-old receiver.

Talks have yet to begin because the Eagles, as is their policy, don't negotiate with holdouts. "There's not too much going on," Jackson said.

He is slated to earn approximately $600,000 in base salary for the coming season. He could lose something like $120,000 of that if the Eagles chose to fine him $30,000 for each day he missed since the start of the league year on Thursday.

Jackson was asked if he planned on practicing and playing in the preseason even if a he didn't have a new contract.

"I will play, and I will practice," Jackson said. "I just have to kind of ease my way back."

He won't have to put on the pads until Saturday and play in a preseason game until Aug. 18. Eagles players have off Tuesday, have another walk-through on Wednesday, host the Ravens on Thursday in the preseason opener and have another off day on Friday.

At this point, it's not exactly clear what Jackson accomplished from his holdout other than avoid injury through the first part of camp. He would have likely stayed away had it not been for the Tuesday deadline for reporting to camp to avoid losing a year toward free agency.

"Because I held out a couple days - or whatever it was - that doesn't mean I didn't want to be an Eagle," Jackson said. "Like I said, I had to handle what I needed to handle."

Accompanied by Rosenhaus, his older brother, Byron, publicist Bobby McCrae and a Rosenhaus associate, Jackson arrived at Lehigh on Sunday night after landing at Philadelphia International Airport. He underwent and passed a physical Monday morning.

When he finally emerged from the Lehigh practice field locker room wearing his No. 10 uniform, rows of cameras where there to catch his entrance. Coaches and teammates embraced him - something Jackson called "a relief" - and even Eagles general manager Howie Roseman eventually came over and pounded fists with the receiver.

"Everybody understands what's going on," Jackson said.

Jackson spoke afterward about the great relationship he had with the team and its front office. Eagles president Joe Banner, the team's chief negotiator, is on vacation and was not at Lehigh.

Rosenhaus still made an appearance. He pulled into the team parking lot, walked into the team locker room, but when he made his way to the practice fields, Roseman and security escorted the agent to the stands.

Six years ago, Rosenhaus famously showed up at Lehigh with client Terrell Owens, another Eagles receiver unhappy with his contract. That moment set off a series of events that led to Eagles coach Andy Reid sending Owens home from camp and eventually suspending and cutting him from the team.

Rosenhaus had no comment Monday when asked about Jackson's contract situation.

"I know what I've accomplished the last three years," Jackson said. "The games I've helped win."

Jackson called his first three seasons "off the chart," and in some ways they were. In 2009, he became the first NFL player to make the Pro Bowl at two positions (receiver and punt returner). That same year he tied a league mark with eight touchdowns of more than 50 yards.

Last season, he became the first player to score a game-winning punt return for a touchdown when he raced 65 yards to cap a comeback victory over the New York Giants.

He's also suffered two concussions in the last two seasons, saw his total receptions decrease to just 47 last season and let his contract situation become a distraction at times.

"I know a lot of people would probably wish and hope or just kind of [say] that they can't wait for me to mess up," Jackson said. "But I still haven't been that guy that everybody assumes me to be."

But will he be that guy if a deal doesn't get done soon? The Eagles are expected to have cap space - approximately $7 million - once they reduce the roster. But they also have plans to rework quarterback Michael Vick's contract.

"I know where my destination is and my destiny is to be here and to be an Eagle," Jackson said. "I just want to keep doing the right things and working hard and hopefully everything [pans] out."


Contact staff writer Jeff McLane at 215-854-4745, jmclane@phillynews.com

or @Jeff_McLane on Twitter.

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