Wednesday, February 10, 2016

DeSean differs from Asante on business

Their situations are different, but DeSean Jackson and Asante Samuel have taken near opposite approaches to the business side of being a professional football player.

DeSean differs from Asante on business

Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson is still waiting for a new contract. (David Duprey/AP Photo)
Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson is still waiting for a new contract. (David Duprey/AP Photo)

Their situations are different, but DeSean Jackson and Asante Samuel have taken near opposite approaches to the business side of being a professional football player.

Samuel, upset that his name was mentioned in trade rumors last week, blasted the Eagles front office on Wednesday. Jackson, who held out the first 11 days of training camp in the hopes of getting a new contract, hasn't griped at all since reporting despite the fact that he still hasn't gotten an extension.

On Thursday, Jackson was asked for his take on Samuel's comments in which the Eagles cornerback said that Eagles president Joe Banner and general manager Howie Roseman were "playing fantasy football with the owner's money."

Samuel later took back those comments.

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"Asante, unfortunately, he's had some issues, I guess, with ... him being on the trading block," Jackson said. "I can't really get into that because I don't really know too much about that. Obviously he felt a certain way. As far as a man, a human being to feel a certain way -- I could kind of understand how he felt."

Some expected Jackson to get a contract extension by this point in the season. The two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver is in the last year of the four-year contract he signed as a rookie. Jackson will make approximately $600,000 in base salary this season.

Jackson, who has admitted that he let his contract situation become a distraction at times last season, said that he remained optimistic that something could get done before the season is over.

"Sometimes it does get hard, but I think it will be worked out, it'll be good," Jackson said. "Without trying to say too much, I think things will work out good here. After the bye week now, so there's a lot more time for things to get done."

If the two sides -- Jackson is represented by agent Drew Rosenhaus -- can't agree on a deal by February, the Eagles could choose to place the franchise tag on the wide receiver for next season. Jackson would make somewhere around $10 million but he wouldn't have the long-term security he wants.

Still, those around Jackson say that he's shown greater maturity this season. Eagles special teams coordinator Bobby April said that Jackson has "elevated his professionalism" and is "in a better place."

"At times it's been difficult," Jackson said. "Like I said, I just try to stay focused on the task, which is playing football. Just doing what I can to make my job to the best of my ability, so I try not to get too worried about that. I know it will happen sooner or later."

Jackson is on pace to set career highs in receptions and receiving yards. Through six games he has 24 catches for 456 yards and is averaging 19.0 yards a catch. He has two touchdowns but hasn't had one those "Wow" scores that became commonplace during his first three seasons.

"I can't really put my finger on it when I'm going to break a big one or one of those crazy plays are going to happen," Jackson said. "That's just the nature of the game."

Jackson spoke earlier in the season about how his health should always come first when he plays the game. Some interpreted those comments as the receiver saying he wouldn't sacrifice his body if that meant getting injured. Samuel said last week on the radio that he was a "business entity" first. Jackson was asked if he felt the same way. 

"Of course, you have to," Jackson said. "It's definitely a business. Every time you come into work it's a business, you step on the field it's a business. Even when you're out, say, wherever you're at -- a restaurant. As being a professional athlete, you still have to watch yourself because at any given moment, anything can happen."

While Jackson said that he understood where Samuel was coming from with his ire toward the front office, the receiver said "the best thing possible is to keep everything in-house. If you have a problem here go tell it to the person."

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Birds' Eye View is the Inquirer's blog covering all things Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL.

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