DeSean Jackson ready to move on

ByJohn Keim via ESPN logo
Wednesday, April 2, 2014

ASHBURN, Va. -- The money was going to come. A humbled DeSean Jackson wanted a little bit more when choosing his new team.

So when quarterback Robert Griffin III reached out to him after learning he was a free agent, and when cornerback DeAngelo Hall made a hard recruiting pitch, Jackson knew where he wanted to be.

"They embraced me," Jackson said.

And, in the end, they signed him. Jackson signed his four-year deal with the Redskins on Wednesday. Because the final year voids if he's on the roster five days after the Super Bowl in 2017, it's really a three-year deal. The contract is worth $24 million, with $16 million guaranteed and a $5 million signing bonus.

Jackson agreed to the deal late Tuesday night after arriving in northern Virginia on Monday afternoon. Washington was the first team he visited, as the Redskins aggressively courted him.

After his release by the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday, that pursuit was welcomed by Jackson. He said Griffin told him, "I want to do my best to get you here."

And he said Hall told him, "If you came here, you could help us out a lot."

"After everything that was going on the past couple days and the last week, that's a big step and first move for me," Jackson said. "I was at a point in my career that made me very humble. ... [Griffin] had a big part in getting me to sign here. I credit him and DeAngelo Hall to the utmost. Them guys stood up for me. They knew what my talent was and what I could bring to this team."

Jackson spoke to reporters for 15 minutes via conference call Wednesday, his longest interview since being released by the Eagles. For the past couple of weeks Jackson was the focal point of discussion, first in trade rumors and then after his release. There was criticism over his work ethic and habits, and a story discussing possible gang affiliations, which prompted him to deny that in a statement.

But Jackson didn't want to dwell on the negatives.

"I'm not here to address that," he said. "I feel the people that know me know what type of player I am and they respect me and they know I'm a team guy. I go out there and put it on the line for what I do and who I'm around. That's never really been a problem. Here, the best thing I can say is you have a group of guys that would love to play with me and stepped up and supported me and supported my situation."

Jackson also called his release humbling.

"Me being at the peak of my career and doing great things in this league for six years, I'm very humbled to be where I'm at," he said. "At the same time, moving forward is best for me and being added to the Redskins and coming to a team where they just won the division the previous year.

"Eventually people will see the real DeSean Jackson and not see the painted picture that was put out on me. I'll do everything I need to do is to be a Washington Redskin and be respected by people in this league and the organization."

Playing the Eagles twice a year will be a nice bonus for Jackson. He spent six years with the organization after the Eagles selected him in the second round of the 2008 draft. Jackson caught 356 passes for them, including 82 last season for a career-best 1,333 yards and nine touchdowns.

But five years were spent under former coach Andy Reid. And, after one year, Chip Kelly cut him.

"I'll definitely be very excited about the opportunity regardless of who we're playing," Jackson said. "Obviously me coming from the Eagles, that will definitely be emotional and a big game, but I like to say every game will be the same. I've never been to the visiting locker room in the Linc [Lincoln Financial Field] before so someone will have to show me a way to get there."

When he arrives, he'll be part of an offense that includes proven receiver Pierre Garcon, promising tight end Jordan Reed and another new receiver in Andre Roberts. Not to mention running back Alfred Morris.

It could land him in another offense that, after Philadelphia, is explosive.

"The biggest thing for this move is finding a place where I can be happy and go out and be myself," Jackson said, "and here was the best fit for that, so I'm very excited."

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