DeSean Jackson: NFL Was A Rude Awakening

July 26, 2012;Bethlehem, PA. USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson (10) walks on to the field prior to training camp at Lehigh University. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE

In addition to making the adjustment to the game on the field, when rookies come into the NFL, they have to also adjust to the business side.

Sometimes that adjustment can be the hardest. Time and time again you hear about players who have all the talent, but can't put it together off the field- going to meetings, learning the plays, etc.

In a very interesting read, DeSean Jackson admitted to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer that he found the off the field parts of being in the NFL a "rude awakening"

"I didn't really think the schedules would be as long as they are," Jackson said earlier this week. "It's like a real 9 to 5 [job]. I thought you would really be playing football on Sundays. But it's really like a regular job, and that threw me off."

Jackson also had this to say about the adjustment from college to the NFL:

"I kind of had to grasp everything on the run but at the same time still have fun and be the kid that dreamed about this my whole life," Jackson said. "Sometimes people [saw] something that I did and probably wanted to judge it or say crazy things about it. But you got to realize this is a young man, fresh out of college, coming into a huge level, being in the NFL."

As McLane points out in the article, it's very rare for Jackson to open up like this in an interview. While some thought he would be more open to the media this year after getting his contract, that has not necessarily been the case. It's clear when you are around Jackson that he is extremely guarded. The ESPN article where he felt he was misquoted about his lack of effort last season did not help the matter.

Reading what Jackson had to say to McLane, it's hard not to sympathize with him. Jackson's loss of his father at an early age obviously has had a big impact on him, just as it would to anybody. It's clear from hearing him speak that Andy Reid has stepped into the father figure type role for him. Reid having his back is a big part of the reason he is still here.

Has Jackson been perfect since he arrived to the Eagles? No, but other than last season, he has not been the diva that some thought he might be coming out of college. The cold persona he shows the media aside, Jackson has done a lot in charity work and by all accounts has been a good teammate outside of last year.

With that being said, Jackson might have said all of the right things in his sit down with McLane, but actions speak louder than words. He can deny all he wants that he wasn't giving his all last year, but what fans saw and the tape shows doesn't lie. Jackson at 100% effort gives this team a threat that almost no other team in the league has, and if he can be that player again, fans will forgive him for last season.

The excuse about maturing and learning how to handle situations can only be used for so long. It's time for Jackson to earn the contract the Eagles gave him.

If he does, the sky is the limit for this offense.

Follow Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks

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