April 22, 2014
ESPN – John Keim
When DeSean Jackson appeared on “The Arsenio Hall Show” on Monday night, he reminded the host — and the audience — how many times the Redskins play the Eagles this season. Just in case anyone had forgotten.
“Oh yeah, twice. Two times, not once, twice,” said the Redskins‘ newest receiver.
Not that DeSean Jackson is eager for those games or anything.
“I’m sure those two games, there’s gonna be something special about those two games, for sure. I gotta definitely go up on that,” he said.
With the NFL schedule being released soon, it’s quite natural to assume one of those two games will be nationally televised.
Jackson’s appearance was wisely set up as he tries to reshape his image after taking a beating just before and after the Eagles released him last month. Gang affiliations, questions about work ethic and his standing among teammates — it added up to quite a negative portrait.
But Jackson, who signed with the Washington Redskins five days after his release, has come across well in interviews, and that was the case again on Hall’s show. Granted, any such show should be a safe haven for a celebrity, but, regardless, it helps spin a different narrative. Jackson also benefits from an audience that showered him with applause. More than anything, though, he has to make sure his teammates view him a certain way. It’s good to win the PR battle in April; it’s better to cement yourself in the locker room by your attitude, your work ethic and performance in the fall. Ultimately, that’s how he’ll be judged. And, no, he did not miss any Redskins workouts to attend the taping of the show. The players are off.
For now, though, this is his chance to reveal himself.
Hall even asked whether Jackson felt there were some things he had to change about himself because of what happened — based on feeling that the Eagles might have had a point.
“I’m an honest person, I’m a realist at the end of the day. I’m human, I’m not perfect,” Jackson said. “At the end of the day, I came in the NFL 20 years old, so that was a lot given to me. Coming from where I came from, I had to get along, I had to learn some things, I had to go through what I did to get to where I am now. I’m 27 now. I can definitely say I learned a lot. For sure I’m gonna do some things different, but, as far as, like, overall, being a bad energy in the locker room, none of that stuff ever occurred. I love my teammates.”
Jackson recalled how his release happened.
“It was almost unreal, honestly. My agent called me because I missed the call from [the] head coach, and I’m sitting there like, ‘What’s the reason behind it, what’s going on? Somebody tell me,'” Jackson said.
“Basically, [coach Chip Kelly] told me, ‘I think it’s best for the team and I think it’s best for yourself [to part ways]. We’re gonna let you negotiate with 31 other teams.’ So I’m like, ‘Are you sure?’ I asked him one more time, I asked him what’s the reason, he said that’s what it was. I’m like, let’s get it started, let’s get it going.”
So, yeah, two times.
And Jackson talked about not abandoning his boyhood friends.
“A lot of us all said we wanted to make it, and I was fortunate enough to make it,” he said. “I want to share life with my boys. I want them to come out, have a good time. I want them to live the life I’m living, too.”