Explosive day for DeSean, on and off the field

DeSean Jackson signs autographs after warm-ups. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)
DeSean Jackson signs autographs after warm-ups. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer) (RON CORTES / Staff Photographer)
Posted: December 17, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS - After most of the Eagles had cleared out of the locker room, Jeffrey Lurie called DeSean Jackson over to his corner, and the owner and player had a three-minute conversation.

Lurie did most of the talking. Jackson, in a black skull cap with the word "Gold" emblazoned on the front, listened intently.

The wide receiver had a career day, but the Eagles fell to the lowly Vikings, 48-30, and Jackson was caught by cameras having to be held back by his teammates on the sideline after Nick Foles tossed a third-quarter interception.

It's unclear what Lurie had to say to his temperamental, $47 million receiver. Maybe he was just complimenting Jackson on his choice of headgear. But Eagles coach Chip Kelly acknowledged the sideline incident.

"I just went over and tried to squash it, and we'll get to the bottom of it," Kelly said.

Jackson said it was just frustration. Foles said that his receiver wears his emotions on his sleeve, "and I understand that." Jason Avant, who had rushed over to calm down his teammate, said that "sometimes tempers flare and cameras caught that."

Replays showed Jackson yelling something repeatedly in the direction of wide receivers coach Bob Bicknell before Jeff Maehl, Riley Cooper, another assistant coach, and finally LeSean McCoy intervened.

"He's a receiver. They're prima donnas," said one Eagles player who was near the incident.

Last month, late in the Redskins game, Jackson and Cooper got into it with McCoy when they thought he was doing too much dancing with the ball. In October, late in the Buccaneers game, McCoy became upset with Kelly after his coach questioned his not hitting a hole.

"Football families," Avant said, "there's a lot of dysfunction at times."

All three incidents were caught on camera. Most team spats aren't. They happen all the time, but Jackson's tirade was different because the Eagles lost and, in the process, melted down.

Roc Carmichael was penalized for taunting. Cary Williams was called for unsportsmanlike conduct. Patrick Chung delivered an unnecessary late hit. Jackson didn't hustle to tackle Shaun Prater after the Vikings cornerback intercepted Foles.

"You just let him cool down a little bit, and he's all right," Foles said. "He just has so much heart, so much passion. He wanted to make a play. I didn't put him in a good position.

"But one thing [I told him] is to just stay with me. I'll keep firing. And he stayed with me the whole game. We'll have a better relationship because of it."

The play in question occurred early in the third quarter. The Eagles were trailing, 24-9, but had crossed midfield and were at the Vikings 44. Jackson was open along the sideline, but when Foles finally threw, the ball was high, and Prater broke off his man to make the pick.

He returned the interception 30 yards.

"I felt I was open," Jackson said. "I guess Nick wasn't able to see it right away. . . . It took a little bit for the ball to get there. I looked up, and I guess the guy came off of Riley. At first when I ran the route nobody was on me."

Jackson was free, but Kelly joked last week that he hasn't ever met a receiver that didn't think he was always open. With Jackson, the Eagles sometimes have to take the good with the bad.

And he was very good against the Vikings. Jackson set a career mark with 10 catches and his 195 receiving yards were 15 yards shy of his personal best. His 51-yard grab late in the fourth quarter when the Eagles were all but done may have been the best catch-and-run of his career.

Jackson has already set career marks in catches (75), receiving yards (1,275), and equaled his best in touchdowns (nine) this season.

"I go into every game with the mind-set of making plays for this team," Jackson said. "I felt the same going into this week as I do every week. I still feel like I am one of the best receivers in this league."

Late in the third quarter, Foles and Jackson did hook up for a touchdown when the quarterback lofted a 30-yard strike and his receiver caught it over his right shoulder. The celebration with his teammates was tame, but Foles caught him on the sideline and gave him a hug.

Kelly walked over to Jackson near the bench and gave him a high five.

Back to return a punt a quarter later, Jackson let a high, short kick drop in front of him and roll out of bounds at the 10. He was asked about his decision not to fair catch the punt, but said: "That wasn't a big point in the game, so that really made no difference."

The Eagles were behind, 34-22, with 9 minutes, 1 second left in the game.

Afterward, Jackson sat at his stall in the visitor's locker room, half-dressed and seemingly despondent after the Eagles' five-game winning streak came to a halt.

"We lost. No one loves to lose," Jackson said. "As far as being frustrated, that's a part of playing this game. You have to try and control your emotions. A lot of frustration, honestly."

McCoy, down a few stalls, teased the sulking Jackson as he walked by and toward Lurie.

"He's like the Allen Iverson of football," McCoy said.


Going Up

DeSean Jackson moved into third place on the Eagles' single-season receiving-

yards list with his 195 yards Sunday against the Vikings. He'll have a chance to set the team record over the next two games. Here are the top six single-season Eagles performances:

PLAYER   YEAR   YARDS   

Mike Quick   1983   1,409   

Irving Fryar   1997   1,316   

DeSean Jackson   2013   1,275   

Ben Hawkins   1967   1,265   

Mike Quick   1987   1,247   

Terrell Owens   2004    1,200

SOURCE: Pro-Football-Reference.com


jmclane@phillynews.com

@Jeff_McLane

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