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DeSean Jackson talks his new opportunity with the Eagles and being a leader in the locker room

He’s baaaaaack. (And in No. 10)

The Eagles have officially welcomed DeSean Jackson back home, and the wide receiver is all smiles returning to the podium in Philadelphia. He spoke to the media on Thursday morning for his introductory press conference, and had plenty to say about reuniting with his former squad, how he’s matured, and his excitement surrounding the team’s potential.

(And in true DeSean Jackson fashion, he was running about 15 minutes late to his press conference.)

Here’s everything Jackson had to say:

On returning to the Eagles

He opened up by saying thank you to Jeff Lurie and Howie Roseman for bringing him back, and to Doug Pederson as well. He said it was a blessing to be back in Philadelphia, and that

“Honestly, going on my 12th year of my career, starting off where I started here back in 2008, and just all the memories that I had. From scoring touchdowns to building relationships with my teammates, and I just thought in my early days my career we had something special here. And going throughout my career and being able to have this opportunity to come back here, which I feel is my home, was a great opportunity for me to reunite with the Eagles.”

Jackson went on to say that he’s been keeping an eye on the team the past few years and they’ve been doing some great things, including winning a Super Bowl.

“I can only imagine what it’d be like if I was to come back here and win a Super Bowl, so that’s what kind of made me be so happy and excited to reunite with the Eagles.”

He said that he woke up on Monday and had a call from his agent, and then saw on TV that he was being traded back to the Eagles. He said he still can’t believe it to this day and that’s very shocking, but he’s blessed to still be playing at the level he is 12 years into his career.

Later on he talked about how he sat back and watched the Eagles win the Super Bowl, and he was happy for them, not bitter, but that he’s hoping to add a piece of jewelry of his own with his second stint with the team. He said his biggest goal is to win, and that personal accolades are great, but he just wants to help the team win.

“This city man, these fans, first and foremost these fans are unbelievable. I had great times at other places, but, you know, missing that feeling of these fans here. Unbelievable. Like no other.”

He talked about coming back to Philly a few weeks ago for a signing, and guys like Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham asking him if he’d be back. He said he didn’t know, and that it was bitter sweet to see all the fans still there supporting him. But now, he knows that the feeling is going to be awesome in that first game at The Linc, running out of the tunnel.

On still being an offensive weapon

Jackson said there’s always doubters and nay-sayers, people saying he’s too small, but he still has the desire to go out there and be great, and still feels like he has a lot to prove.

He was asked how he’s maintained his speed over the years, and he credits it to hard work and the people he keeps around him. Those people have dedicated their lives to him and his success and have pushed him to train on days he didn’t want to and to put his career first. Jackson also noted that he still trains on the track rather than the weight room.

On the difference between him as a player now versus when last was in Philadelphia, and the first thing he mentioned was how he is mentally and as a professional. He talked about how coming into the league as a rookie and a starter, he’s had to mature, and now he has a family and kids and he thinks more about the legacy he wants to leave.

“Being accountable, and coming to work everyday and putting your best foot forward.”

Now as a veteran, Jackson said he’s learned how to be more of a leader and someone that the younger guys look up to. Everything from teaching them how he prepares himself and how he carries himself and takes care of his body, he’s excited for the opportunity to help the young guys.

Specifically, he said he’s excited to come back to Philly and install and repay some of the stuff he had in his early days — from guys like Brian Westbrook and Donovan McNabb —, and pass that on to the next generation.

On his previous departure from Philadelphia

He said there were no hard feelings when the Eagles released him, because at the end of the day he understands that the NFL is a business and things happen.

Jackson acknowledged that one of the best moments of his career was the walk-off punt return against the Giants. He said that was back in 2010 and he can still hear Merrill Reese’s voice on the call, and says honestly it was one of the best plays of his career.

Later on, he said that he couldn’t see the future and that he’d be back with the Eagles, but over the past five years, going to a division rival was tough after building what he did in Philadelphia. He said that being young and leaving on the note that he did, it was a bit personal, but he didn’t want to do anything crazy, but he said it was a great opportunity to play against the Eagles during his time away.

“That was kind of personal, but at the end of the day, you live you learn, and I had a great time, a great five years. I just want to move forward, and I’m able to come back here and end it on a great note. I’m excited about this team, they’ve got some great players, and they’ve got some real exciting guys I’m excited to play with, so I’m just looking forward to that.”

He wasn’t sure on how much longer he wants to play, but says he still feels like a 26-year old when he’s out on the field. As long as he’s able to stay healthy, he wants to be here.

“I want to end my career here. I’m happy, like I said, I was able to come back here and finish off where I started.”

Jackson said that he and Howie Roseman have always had a great relationship, even when he left. When he would see Howie and Jeff Lurie on the road, they’d always come up and talk to him and give him a hug. He said it was bitter sweet, but they all know how he released — alluding to Chip Kelly — but they just want to move forward and end the story the best they can.

On playing in this new offense

Jackson said he hasn’t talked to the coaching staff yet about where he’ll fit into the offense, but he did talk to Howie when they made the trade and he talked a bit about his role. Jackson said he’s excited to see.

He went on to talk about the new receivers, including Alshon Jeffrey and Nelson Agholor, and teammates he used to play with that are still in Philly like Zach Ertz and Jason Peters, plus Lane Johnson and Jason Kelce. Jackson said he’s just excited to get back and add to what the Eagles already have.

DeSean also said that Doug Pederson “is my guy” and remembers him being on the coaching staff the first few years of his career. Jackson said he’s got a great relationship with Pederson and has a lot of respect for him, and he thinks they’ll gel great together.

He also said that he’s worked it out with Mack Hollins and will resume wearing No. 10.

Playing with Carson Wentz

Jackson said he talked to Wentz on Wednesday, with the quarterback shooting him a text, he also noted the tweet the QB sent on Tuesday.

The receiver said that he’s excited about Wentz and he saw what he did as a rookie, and said he’s got a great arm, and can obviously throw the deep ball. He went on to say the QB is very smart, very agile and he can’t wait to work out with him in the offseason.

He also talked about not having much consistency at quarterback throughout his career, and being excited for the opportunity to develop that camaraderie with Wentz, especially knowing the kind of upside he has. Jackson said that he definitely knows what Wentz wants to accomplish, especially seeing the Super Bowl win on the sideline, he’s eager to get back there.

Jackson said he just wants to help however he can, and he understands there might be games where he doesn’t get any catches, and some where he gets a lot, but he’s just excited to be apart of it.

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