Jackson stopped himself. He smiled.
"Quiet," he said. "And just have fun."
It began again yesterday, with a 31-13 Eagles win over the Rams. Jackson's first catch was a 41-yarder in the first quarter that was accomplished between the vise created by two Rams defenders, cornerback Ron Bartell and safety Craig Dahl. Jackson lost his hat in the collision but held the ball, popping up to his feet and popping his jersey and signaling to the world that whatever you think of him, and whatever you worry about his contract non-renegotiation, DeSean is still DeSean.
It is what the Eagles need to see.
His mind-set, he said, is, "Go out there and play football, man - something I've been doing my whole life. I really don't get too caught up in everything else. People probably assume this and this, but the only thing I can do is go out there and play my best game and just help this team win games."
Jackson ended up having a pretty typical Jackson kind of day - six catches, 102 yards and a touchdown - but with a couple of twists. One was the drop of the sideline bomb that woulda/coulda/shoulda gone for 87 yards for a touchdown - because those are the kinds of passes that Jackson always catches.
"I definitely do feel like I could have had that ball up the sidelines," he said. "It kind of got on me very quick. I wasn't able to really get my hands turned around. It was a very frustrating play. I'll go back and look at film and just try to stay away from many plays like that."
Another twist on his day was the touchdown, a 6-yarder that was the result of an incredible throw by Michael Vick in the third quarter - because the catch came in the red zone, a place where Jackson has not always tread very effectively. He had only one red-zone touchdown last season.
"Honestly, it was a great throw," Jackson said, mostly because of the intense pressure that was in Vick's face as he backpedaled before he fired. "I looked up and it was a couple of yards in front of me, so I had to kind of turn on my speed a little bit to get to that ball. Any time he's able to put balls like that out in front of us, we're just able to go out there and make plays and do what we do."
What Jackson does is stretch the field and attract defensive attention and make plays that you can never forget. There are days, many days, when Jeremy Maclin is the more consistent route runner, and days, many days, when Jason Avant is tougher in traffic, but Jackson's talent is special and undeniable. The argument isn't even worth having.
That doesn't mean figuring out his compensation will be easy because Jackson is such a unique package - and, frankly, that is other people's business. The rest of us are just trying to divine a hint about Jackson's temperament during this uncertainty - and it is interesting. Someone suggested yesterday that he might shy away from contact in this situation, but Jackson immediately countered with the opposite.
"Actually, I'm playing with an extra edge out there," he said. "It goes back, kind of like my rookie year, when everybody said I was too small, just all of the negative things. I just use everything I can as an edge."
But to what end?
Will he get the new deal?
Is he sure?
"I'm positive," DeSean Jackson said. "I'm a positive person."
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