The Jackson-Maclin relationship

DeSean Jackson had just finished an interview with Hugh Douglas for Fox 29.

The morning practice ended minutes earlier, Jackson once again catching bombs, beating the Eagles' defensive backs and convincing everyone in attendance that he was the best player on the field.

As he removed his mic, in came Jeremy Maclin. The rookie wide receiver. The one who missed the start of training camp before eventually signing a reported five-year deal worth $15.5M.

"J-Mac," said Jackson enthusiastically before slapping hands with the rookie, who was about to be intereviewed next.

The cameras were off, but Jackson wanted to make it clear there was no rift between him and the 19th overall pick.

"Get this on camera," he said to the Fox shooter.

Jackson then playfully horsed around with Maclin, throwing fake punches in his direction as the two guys laughed together.

It's an interesting relationship. Jackson became a star in his rookie season, producing far greater results than we've seen from any first-year receiver in the Andy Reid era.

Yet the Eagles used their first-round pick on the same position. Fans called for them to add T.J. Houshmandzadeh through free agency. And Reid admitted they at least inquired about Anquan Boldin.

But here is Jackson, the guy who slipped to the second round last season. The one whose attitude, work ethic and size were all questioned. The guy who signed for four years, $3.058 million. A monster amount compared to you and me. But pocket change compared to Maclin.

Let's be clear here. I don't think there's a rift between the two players. Jackson wowed us last year, and if camp is any indication, he's ready to take another leap in 2009. He'll still help the rookie along the way. He's still about winning, and by all accounts is well-liked by his teammates.

But in an era where athletes use anything for motivation -- media criticism, slights from opponents, 'nobody believing in them' etc. -- don't be surprised if the Maclin pick was tucked somewhere in the back of Jackson's mind during his offseason workouts.

Maybe it pushed him just a little bit harder. Maybe it put that chip back on his shoulder, after hearing all the great things said about him after last season. Maybe it's part of the reason he's looked so impressive at camp.

Just a thought.

I'll empty out the notebook with some more nuggets later, including an anecdote about how Quintin Mikell acts even when the spotlight isn't on him.