Jackson said he aims to be one of the game's greats.
"I want to shoot for the Hall of Fame," he said. "I'm a Pro Bowl wide receiver, but I want to shoot for beyond that." (He added that he also hopes to keep returning punts; he was one of the best in the league before averaging a career-worst 6.8 yards per return in 2011.)
In signing his contract Thursday, Jackson ended two years of tortured speculation about his future. While other receivers cashed in for bigger contracts on the open market, Jackson said the chance to gain clarity and security outweighed waiting and hoping for a larger jackpot in 2013.
"I felt good with what was on the table. I didn't want to pass that up," he said. "With the relationship that I have with the Eagles, I would rather take the opportunity than go anywhere else."
He called coach Andy Reid a "father figure" and later added, "I'm happy with the deal that I've gotten, and if I wasn't happy, I wouldn't have signed it. . . . I felt that I got my worth."
Jackson's deal could pay him up to $51 million but guarantees just $15 million, less than other receivers have gotten in recent days. Jackson, though, was under the franchise tag and wasn't free to negotiate with other teams.
"It's not necessarily being relieved, it's more of a blessed feeling of getting what you're worth and what you deserve," Jackson said. "I could have 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."
The team and fans will look for Jackson to bounce back from a down 2011 that included drops, benchings, and only four touchdowns. His unsettled contract was offered up by some as a factor in his play and behavior. That excuse is now out.
"We have high expectations for DeSean Jackson, we always have," Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said. "We think he's a great player, that's why we gave him this contract, and we expect to see that this year."
Jackson talked repeatedly about being able to take care of his family, and of honoring his late father, William. "Pops, this is for you," he said.
Together, Jackson and his father dreamed of the receiver's NFL career, starting when he starred at Long Beach Polytechnic High School. Since then, Jackson has believed he was meant for a big stage. He can now go back to playing, he said, without worrying about anything else.
"I can go into the season and just play football," he said. "I'm going to go out there and give it my all."
Contact staff writer Jonathan Tamari at 215-854-5214, email@example.com, or on Twitter @JonathanTamari.