If you want to know what DeSean Jackson thinks about why he was released by the Eagles at age 27, after a career year in 2013, you're going to have to keep wondering. Jackson wasn't eager to go over the circumstances of his departure, when he spoke to Washington-area reporters on a conference call Wednesday, after signing a three-year contract worth $24 million, the first two seasons guaranteed, at $8 million per year. (Reports indicate there is a fourth year that automatically voids, but will help the Redskins amortize their salary cap hit.) And those reporters, understandably more concerned about what Jackson brings the Redskins, didn't press the matter.
"Honestly, man, I'm not really here to address that. I feel people that really know me and know what type of player I am, they respect me and they know I'm a team guy and I just go out there and put in on the line," he said.
Jackson called the Redskins "a group of guys that would love to play with me and kind of stepped up and supported me and supported my situation."
Jackson talked about how much it meant to him that Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III and corner DeAngelo Hall "reached out to me" in the wake of his Friday release by the Eagles. "I was at a point in my career where I was very humble, for everything to go down to happen the way it happened," he said.
He called the Redskins' courtship "an open-arms situation." He said Griffin III called him "as soon as he knew I was a free agent."
Asked if he feels he has something to prove, Jackson said: "I think it's a part of being a professional -- I'm not going to sit here and say I do or I don't have anything to prove ... Every time I step out on that field, you want to have much success, you want to do things that you're known for doing."
Asked if he was surprised by his release, and asked about having to put out his Friday statement denying being a gang member, in the wake of an NJ.com story that hit the internet 40 minutes before he was released, Jackson said: "Like I said, it was a humbling experience for myself, me being at the peak of my career and doing some great things in this league my first six years ... I think I'm very humbled. For me to be where I'm at and for me to be released like that. At the same time, I feel moving forward is the best thing for me."
He called the statement "the right thing to do at the right time."
"Eventually, I think people will really understand and see the real DeSean Jackson, and not see the painted picture that was put out on me. The best thing I can say is I'm moving forward, I'm going to do everything I need to do to be a Washington Redskin and to do my job to the utmost and be respected by people in this league and people in this organization ... there's a lot of things to look forward to here," Jackson said.
Jackson said he doesn't have a new number yet -- Griffin III is No. 10 for the Redskins. He jokingly raised the possibility of Griffin III taking No. 3 instead.