Birds' DeSean Jackson: No pout about it

DeSean Jackson says he's put last year's troubles behind him. Yong Kim / Staff Photographer
DeSean Jackson says he's put last year's troubles behind him. Yong Kim / Staff Photographer
Posted: July 27, 2012

BETHLEHEM — Every Eagle showed up on time, nobody had a contract issue bothering him.

Small groups of reporters milled about nervously in front of the Lehigh dorms as the veterans arrived, wondering whether this meant the Mayans were right. But the sunny, breezy afternoon continued into a lovely evening, with no further hint of forthcoming apocalypse.

"There are less distractions, right? So I think it's absolutely a plus," coach Andy Reid said.

Most notably, a smiling DeSean Jackson appeared well in advance of the evening welcoming meeting. Last year Jackson, upset his contract revision hadn't happened, missed the first 11 days at Lehigh. This time, Jackson proclaimed a fresh start.

He didn't have much interest in comparing his feelings this year with last year's situation, before Jackson signed the 5-year, $47 million deal in March.

"It's a new year. I live in the future," Jackson said. "I live moving forward. I don't like to go off the past. I like to better myself off the past. As far as last year to today, I can't really explain that, but I'm happy to be here, start fresh, start anew. It's going to be a good year for us.

“This offseason has been great for myself and for the team. As far as me, I'm going to be accountable for everything I need to do, to help this team get some wins."

Though special-teams coordinator Bobby April made it plain he isn't looking at Jackson as his punt returner this year, Jackson indicated he might still like to keep his hand in, here and there.

"I'm a playmaker, man, that's when I score touchdowns, what I get paid to do. If they need me in there for a big punt return, whatever it is, I'm always excited to go back there and do that," Jackson said. "I've loved punt returning since I came here … I don't want to take anything back, I just want to go out there and give it my all, play, have fun, score touchdowns — punt return or catch[ing] long touchdowns, whatever way it comes, that's what I'm going to do."

Inevitably, Jackson was asked about Michael Vick's statement last week that he thought the Eagles had a chance to build a dynasty.

"They're always going to find stuff to give us madness about as far as being a Philadelphia Eagle. I think anything someone says or puts in the media, I think they're all going to make it a big situation because we are the Philadelphia Eagles … I think everybody on our team knows how important this year is," Jackson said. "Everybody has a common goal, which is to win the Super Bowl. As long as everybody is putting in the effort … playing together as one team, I think the sky's the limit.

“To see the Giants win the Super Bowl last year, and just to know how we play against them, honestly, it kind of bothers me a lot. We're just ready, man. We're going to go out there and put in the work, be excited about a big 2012 year."

One more attempt at getting a comparison, couched in terms of whether his mind is clearer this year, brought this response from the fifth-year wideout, whose position coach, David Culley, acknowledged Monday that Jackson didn't want to go over the middle last year because of his contract: "It's clear right now, man, that's all I can really say. It's been a great offseason. I worked very hard to get me where I'm at right now. Gained a little bit of weight, as well. Been running track … I think I even got a little faster, so, it's going to be a good year for us."

So, what does he weigh now?

"One-seventy-four," he said.

Clearly a move to linebacker is imminent.

Advice from the Oval Office

Eagles corner Nnamdi Asomugha told reporters he attended a fundraiser for President Obama, who asked him to deliver a message to quarterback Michael Vick. "He said, ‘Tell Vick to slide,' I promise," Asomugha said. Asomugha said they talked football for 3 or 4 minutes. No word on advice for Juan Castillo.

But a few hours later, Vick tweeted this: "If the President of the U.S. is saying I need to slide then I really need to start sliding. Lol. Thanks Mr. President!"

Speaking of Vick, running back LeSean McCoy, now a grizzled 24-year-old veteran, said the QB asked him to assume more of a leadership role this season.

"There are certain guys around the locker room that you point out, and can count on that person to do his job and can be held accountable," McCoy said. "I think now I have that role."

Birdseed

Sounds as if with Visanthe Shiancoe having signed in New England, the Eagles have concluded their tight end tire-kicking for now … Michael Vick took a planned day off from practice … Andy Reid said though there will be a full-squad workout open to the public Friday afternoon, the Eagles won't hit until Saturday … Temple corner Kee-ayre Griffin was released to make room on the 90-man roster for punter Mat McBriar.

Contact Les Bowen at bowenl@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter @LesBowen. For more Eagles coverage and opinion, read his blog at www.eagletarian.com.

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