DeSean Jackson will not be here Thursday at Eagles camp when the team goes through its first practice since January.
Coach Andy Reid said he spoke with the star receiver in recent days, but he would not divulge their conversation, and teammates were noncommittal when asked about Jackson’s attendance.
But a league source confirmed that Jackson will not be moving in with the rest of the Birds just yet to prepare for the 2011 season.
Jackson wants a new deal after making two Pro Bowls in his first three years after being signed as a second-round draft pick.
“We’ll see how things go,” Reid said when asked about Jackson’s attendance. Later, though, he said: “You don’t want any player to miss time. You don’t want them to do that. You understand that’s part of the game, but I don’t want any player to miss time. I want them to be out here. I think the players want to be out here, likewise, but there’s two sides to this. There’s the football side, the business side. You have to work it through if things happen.”
Reid plans to start slowly, so even if Jackson misses a few more days of camp, he might not miss much. The Eagles will begin with a conditioning test Thursday morning, then a light practice in the afternoon. They will not have padded practices until Sunday. The new labor deal requires them to wait until at least Saturday before allowing full contact.
For every day he misses, Jackson can be fined $30,000, according to Andrew Brandt, an ESPN sports business analyst and a former league executive.
“If a veteran player either isn’t able to practice or isn’t here, or whatever it might be, well, it gives a young guy an opportunity to practice, so I’m OK with that,” Reid said. “If somebody misses time, it gives that next guy a chance, and then you get to see the depth of your team and teach.”
The Eagles are deep at receiver. Jeremy Maclin is a rising talent, Jason Avant is a strong third option, and Riley Cooper showed potential in his rookie year. But none of them has the game-breaking ability of Jackson.
Jackson is slated to make roughly $560,000 in base salary this season after emerging as one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in the NFL. By contrast, Santonio Holmes agreed to terms Wednesday with the New York Jets on a five-year contract worth $50 million, with $24 million guaranteed.
For a second consecutive day, Jackson’s agent declined to comment on the receiver’s plans.
One of Jackson’s close friends, running back LeSean McCoy, said he was not sure of Jackson’s plans.
“That guy’s one of the most explosive athletes on the field, in the whole NFL. We’d love to play with him,” tight end Brent Celek said. “But like I said, he has his own personal situation he needs to take care of.”
Contact staff writer Jonathan Tamari at 215-854-5214, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @JonathanTamari on Twitter.<QA0>
Staff writers Jeff McLane and Tim Rohan contributed to this article.