DeSean: Could have handled things differently

DeSean Jackson finished the season with 58 catches for 961 yards and four touchdowns. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

DeSean Jackson reiterated that he hopes to return to the Eagles next season, and admitted that he could have handled his contract situation better this year.

The explosive receiver reminded fans, and perhaps Eagles executives, of his quick-strike ability with a 62-yard touchdown in the team's win over the Redskins. But with his rookie contract set to expire, Jackson said his return next season is out of his control.

"I haven't took it that far yet. It's a professional game, it's a business. I wish I could give you an answer saying if I'm going to be here next year or not but honestly I really don't know, so we'll just see how it plays out," Jackson said.

Asked if he would be OK playing under the franchise tag -- which would pay Jackson a significant sum but not offer long-term security -- he said "why wouldn't I be?"

"It's kind of out my control, out of my power," he said of his future in general. "I hope that I'll be here. These guys on this team and just the fans, it's home for myself so we'll see how it plays."

Jackson said this was a learning season for him, but that he finished strong.

"I've learned to the utmost out of everything about it being a business, professionally, about how to come to work and not let things affect me. I can admit to certain things affecting me during the season. I just want to apologize ... I probably could have handled it a little bit different, but now sitting here after the season's over I can just say I was able to put it behind me and really just fight for my teammates, fight for my organization and just really knowing something good was going to happen out of the situation."

Jackson, of course, was benched against Arizona for missing a team meeting and then sat down at the end of the Eagles game against New England. Coaches have praised him for his effort in recent weeks, but the question is: is the recent effort enough to override the problems from earlier in the year?

"I went through what I went through but I was able to shake myself out of it and come back to reality and just give it my all and play hard and do everything the right way," Jackson said. "You can tell a lot about a person and their character to see how they finish."

He added, "I can't really get frustrated over contract situations, or if I'm not paid how I think I should be, whatever the case may be, I can't really allow that to go on as a professional."

Jackson finished Sunday with four catches for 86 yards and a touchdown. That gave him 58 catches for 961 yards and four touchdowns on the year, all of which are down from his previous two seasons. His punt return average was also the lowest of his career.

But teammates said Jackson opens up the field for others on offense and praised his character. Tight end Brent Celek said Jackson apologized to teammates for his behavior earlier in the season.

Jackson said this last game, and his throwing the ball deep into the stands after his touchdown, wasn't about making a statement.

"I don't come out on the field really to make any statements about me being able to play at a high level. I think that's the obvious. There were just some things in my mind that just kind of messed with me that I shouldn't have allowed to happen early on, but I was able to finish strong so that’s all that really matters," Jackson said.

We'll see if Eagles management agrees.

"(I'll) be alright," Jackson said. "God's got a plan."