Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

DJax: I'm Here to Play Football

BETHLEHEM -- DeSean Jackson wouldn't articulate why he held out of Eagles training camp for 11 days, but he told reporters Monday afternoon that he is "here to play football," and will put everything into the season, now that he's onboard.

DJax: I'm Here to Play Football

DeSean Jackson walks on to the practice field on Monday. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
DeSean Jackson walks on to the practice field on Monday. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

BETHLEHEM -- DeSean Jackson wouldn't articulate why he held out of Eagles training camp for 11 days, but he told reporters Monday afternoon that he is "here to play football," and will put everything into the season, now that he's onboard.

Jackson clearly expects to be rewarded with a new contract, before the Sept. 11 opening of the regular season. Now that he presumably feels he has made his point by sitting out, he apparently hopes to reassure the team about his character and his dedication, moving forward.

Of course, showing up on time might have helped out there.

"Because I held out a couple days or whatever it was, that doesn't mean I don't want to be an Eagle," Jackson said after watching the afternoon walkthrough. The team is off today, has another walkthrough tomorrow, plays its preseason opener Thursday, and is off again Friday, so Jackson can't practice before Saturday. He had to report by Aug. 9 or lose the ability to become a free agent when his contract expires following the season.

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"Everything happens for a reason," Jackson said, after declining to answer a question about what he gained from holding out.

Agent Drew Rosenhaus was not present for the press conference; Rosenhaus and some associates walked out toward the practice fields for the walkthrough but were directed to the stands by security guards and by Eagles general manager Howie Roseman. Roseman said agents are not alllowed on the field.

"I think my game speaks for everything," Jackson said about his case for a new deal, to replace the $600,000 or so he is scheduled to make this season, the final year of his rookie contract.

Earlier, Jackson arrived alone at the Lehigh locker room where the Eagles dress -- no Rosenhaus in the gray GMC SUV with the sparkly rims. (Rosenhaus arrived later in a rented red Cadillac.)

Jackson arrived wearing a white T-shirt, long, baggy shorts and a blue baseball cap. He smiled, though he didn't pause for cameras. Eagles head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder enveloped Jackson in a hug and proclaimed him "my son!"

There has been some confusion about when the Eagles could start fining Jackson -- an earlier version of this post might have been incorrect -- but they certainly could have been fining him $30,000 a day since Thursday, a tidy $120,000. 

About 20 minutes after Jackson went into the fieldhouse, three associates arrived, one of them wearing an "RSR" Rosehaus logo T-shirt. He was Rosenhaus marketing exec Robert Bailey, a former NFL corner. They all went inside as well.

Eagles president Joe Banner is not at Lehigh today. A team official vigorously disputed a report on Sports Illustrated's web site that said the team still has $7.79 million in salary cap room, even without lowering Michael Vick's number with a longer-term deal. But apparently, the Eagles feel they can get somewhere near that number without reducing Vick's cap figure, when they get down to their final 53.

***

*Dick Vermeil was a visitor to camp today, and spent some time on the field chatting with Andy Reid. Maybe he told Andy how he used to handle those Mike Quick holdouts.

*Thunderous hit on LeSean McCoy by Kurt Coleman.

*Ryan Harris looked really smooth, again. With Winston Justice getting close to being able to practice, the right tackle situation is going to be interesting. Justice will have to be better than he was late last year to hold onto the job.

*The way Juan Castillo is labeling things, Kurt Coleman is the free safety, Nate Allen the free. Up is also down. Cats and dogs are living together. It's anarchy, folks.

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