RICHMOND, Va. – DeSean Jackson stayed after his first training camp practice with the Washington Redskins. He took extra catches when other players filed off the field. Once finished the extended workload, Jackson walked to the ropes that held fans back three or four deep.
He signed autographs and posed for photos. After a turbulent offseason, Jackson confessed that he’s “happy.” The Eagles unceremoniously released the Pro Bowl receiver in March, allowed rumors to swirl about him for a month, and have since contended it was a football decision and moved on with a revamped receiving corps. The Redskins are happy to have Jackson and the fans are eager to watch him, because Jackson is vital part of a team that is perhaps the Eagles’ biggest competition to win the NFC East.
“I just look forward to being here,” Jackson said. “That’s the biggest thing I can really say. I’m not really caught up with the past, what went on. Biggest thing I can say is we have some great guys here, great coaches, great front offices. And I’m happy. At the end of the day, that’s all that really matters.”
During a five-minute interview, Jackson repeated multiple times how he’s looking forward. He never mentioned the Eagles specifically, and downplayed even comparing what he’s experiencing in Washington to his six seasons in Philadelphia.
“Honestly, man, I really don’t compare it to anything else,” Jackson said. “I look at it as a new opportunity, a new beginning. I really don’t get caught up in too much with the past. Here, they have a lot of things going that we want to get accomplished.”
Washington’s new offense was on display, with quarterback Robert Griffin III and new coach Jay Gruden installing his system. Jackson lined up with the first team opposite Pierre Garcon. Other skill-position players included tight end Jordan Reed, wide receivers Santana Moss and Andre Roberts, and running back Alfred Morris, giving a Washington a strong offense to challenge the Eagles.
Practice took place in rain that was heavy at times, which might have affected the timing of some passes and routes. Griffin and Jackson missed a connection a few times, but Jackson said the two have already developed strong chemistry.
“You have to think of the ball being wet, going out there and being on the same page,” Jackson said. “As far as minicamp, I think we connected a lot. Just kind of progressed. Can’t move back. Just look forward.”
Look for more in Friday's Inquirer.