New Eagles defensive tackle Malik Jackson calls Fletcher Cox “a force to be reckoned with,” and looks forward to lining up next to him.
Delaware News Journal
PHILADELPHIA — DeSean Jackson called reuniting with the Eagles “a blessing,” and a chance to finish his career with the team that he started with.
That’s why Jackson said he had “no hard feelings” about the way former Eagles coach Chip Kelly unceremoniously released him five years ago following Jackson’s career best season in 2013 in which he had 1,332 yards receiving.
The Eagles traded for Jackson on Monday, sending Tampa Bay a sixth-round draft pick while getting a seventh-round pick back in 2020. Jackson is 32 years old, but the wide receiver is still considered an elite deep threat after leading the NFL in yards per reception last season at 18.9.
“At the end of the day, I feel like this is a business,” Jackson said about getting released. “Things happen in this business. As a young kid, coming from Los Angeles, California, obviously if I can sit here and tell you I could write out this story for it to be this way, I probably wouldn’t have told you that.
“The best thing I could say is you move forward in your life.”
Jackson did that, spending three seasons with Washington and the last two with the Buccaneers.
And he provides the Eagles with a deep threat that they sorely missed last season. Jackson said he can keep doing that despite his advancing age.
“It’s going on my 12th year and … I’m 32, but I still feel like I’m running and playing like a 26-year-old,” Jackson said. “As long as I’m able to stay healthy … I want to end my career here.”
Jackson admitted that his attitude has changed over the years. That includes working out more and not staying out as late, something that Jackson admitted he was able to get away with when he was younger.
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“As a young kid, when I was 24, I didn’t have to do that,” he said. “I could just wake up out of my bed and go run. I used to always say, ‘Cheaters don’t stretch.’ And I looked at myself as a cheater. Now, I’m a little older and these joints, they hurt a little more. So I’m happy to get out there a little earlier and take care of my body a little more.”
Jackson acknowledged that things didn’t work out in Tampa, despite the Bucs having a similar set of talented receivers as the Eagles. Yet he bristled last season when he didn’t get the ball as much as he thought he should, and even asked for a trade in October.
Jackson said he couldn’t give a reason why it didn’t work out, but is confident that it will with the Eagles.
“I’m just ready to get back and add to what they already have,” Jackson said. “There’s not really much that they need. So for me to come back and add to what they already have is, my eyes, lights out.”
Jackson said he’s also looking forward to playing with quarterback Carson Wentz, and made sure to note that Wentz has “an arm out of this world, and can throw the deep ball.”
And yes, Jackson noted Wentz’s tweet from Monday where he basically said he’ll throw it as far as he can and let Jackson run under it.
But mostly, Jackson was excited about this working out. He has led the NFL in yards per reception four times in his career. He has the most 60-plus-yard receiving touchdowns (24) in NFL history and ranks second in 50-plus-yard receiving touchdowns (29), trailing only Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (36).
He also leads all NFL players in 40-plus-yard receptions (63) since 2008. Jackson said he wants to add to his legacy, both as a speed receiver, and as a teammate, now that he’s back with the Eagles.
“My approach is to come in and show the work,” he said. “Any time you have guys in this league that obviously have a lot of success, and been in different places around the league, the first thing you can say is how will a guy come to work? How will a guy be accountable? As long as you can and put in the work, and guys see that you’re not taking a shortcut out, and you’re working just as hard as them or even harder, that’s when you get your respect, that’s where you earn your respect in this business. I’ve learned that, as a young player, and I’ve obviously been a veteran now in this league, that there are no shortcuts to success.”
Contact Martin Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @Mfranknfl.