HENDERSON, Nevada – It was a decidedly kinder and gentler DeSean Jackson who showed up on the podium for the Las Vegas Raiders Wednesday afternoon after his first official practice with the newest team in a 14-year career with many crossed stars.
Diva? Not even. Not on this day.
“It’s really not about me right now,” said Jackson, a three-time Pro Bowler who will turn 35 on Dec. 1.
“I’m not asking to get the ball 100 times. I’m not asking to play 100%,” he said. “Whichever role fits in, let me play it to the best of my ability.”
Jackson, a 2008 Philadelphia Eagles second-round pick from Cal who has also played in the NFL for Washington and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, applied for and received his release from the Los Angeles Rams on Nov. 2 after seven games. .
After approving the waivers, he chose the team he first saw live as a child, in 1995 at the Oakland Coliseum. The ‘opponents’ of the Raiders that day? Kansas City Chiefs: Raiders opponents on Sunday, when will Jackson make his Raiders debut? The bosses.
“He’s very fast,” Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said of Jackson. “He can still run. That definitely showed up today … Everyone is watching. I want to see him run. I want to see him catch the ball. Even on the pat-and-go. [drills], I’m excited to throw the ball to him. Watching him work today gives you a lot of confidence as a quarterback.
“When you can add talent like that, I think we’re in the business of adding good soccer players. I’ve always loved him … just being with him on the practice field today, really working, it’s going to be hard not to get along. okay with that guy. Especially, again, the way that guy can run, it was nice to see that number one jersey flying across the field. “
Jackson was hired to help fulfill the Raiders’ deep threat role with the release of Henry Ruggs III last week following his arrest and facing felony and misdemeanor charges following a car accident that claimed the life of Tina Tintor, 23, and her dog.
Still, Jackson said he wasn’t trying to replace Ruggs, the Raiders’ top draft pick in 2020.
“But being that spark, what I’ve been able to do my entire career – deep threat, vertical threat – and have the defense having to account for that,” Jackson said. “So if it’s a decoy, open it up for other guys like [tight end Darren] Waller, [receiver] Hunter [Renfrow]Whatever it takes to be a spark, that’s what I’m here for. “
At 5-3, the Raiders are still in the thick of the AFC West career, and Jackson pointed to Las Vegas’ postseason potential as a reason he chose to come to the desert.
“Being a kid from Los Angeles, being close to home, the weather, all those good things, I didn’t want to go anywhere cold,” he said. “I felt like the Raiders were a perfect fit, perfectly matched.”
The Raiders hope Jackson learns fast enough this week to have an impact on “certain packages” Sunday night. Also, the Raiders’ offense is similar to what the Rams run, in terms of verbiage and concepts.
Jackson has led the NFL in average yards per catch four times, in 2010, 2014, 2016 and 2018, and averaged 27.6 yards per catch, on 8 receptions, for the Rams. He has 620 receptions for 10,877 yards and 57 TDs in 167 career games.
“I know there is a lot of adversity in the organization, but sometimes that’s what builds character,” he said. “Now is the best time for everyone to come together and bond. The best thing about life is that you can always improve yourself and move on.”
Jackson was asked how different he is mentally as a player now than before.
“Back then I used to make crazy decisions, I wasn’t as smart … as I am now,” he said. “I lived a lot. I have two kids, that obviously made me grow up a lot and really, really know right from wrong. Every time you get a chance to go out and play this game, it’s a privilege. I think when you’re young, you do it. You take it for granted You really don’t know what a finger snap can be and what it can be done.
“Now where I am, just knowing some of those silly decisions I made when I was younger, you really can’t do that.”