DeSean Jackson’s ex-teammate defends speedy wideout
The criticism levied against DeSean Jackson through the media since his Philadelphia Eagles release has far exceeded defense of the wide receiver’s character by former teammates.
One of them, though, has made the strongest assertion yet that Jackson is getting a bum rap.
New Minnesota Vikings safety Kurt Coleman said he "appreciated" Jackson during the four seasons (2010-2013) they played together with the Eagles and "can’t say anything bad about him." Such a statement stands in stark contrast to various reports quoting anonymous sources as saying Jackson was self-centered and sometimes late to team meetings, and frequently clashed with first-year Eagles head coach Chip Kelly in 2013 — not to mention affiliated with gang members off the field.
"I find it troubling to hear some of the stories," Coleman told co-host Gil Brandt and me Monday night on SiriusXM NFL Radio. "I don’t know who’s putting them out there. I thought DeSean was a good guy in the locker room. He was someone I could talk to and relate to.
"Did he kind of do his own thing? Yeah, but we all kind of do our own thing in our own way. When it came down to gametime, I would ask him, ‘Is 10 mode on?’ There was no question. He would give 100 percent. He would take those big hits for the team."
As for Jackson’s allegedly questionable practice habits, Coleman said, "One thing I think people don’t realize is that DeSean’s jog is probably faster than almost everybody’s on the field. If it looks like he’s jogging, he’s probably flying past everyone. That’s a misconception about him not practicing hard.
"I think we all have days where we sometimes don’t want to line up and go practice because the season is long and there’s wear and tear on your body."
One indisputable fact: Jackson is coming off the best statistical season of his six-year NFL career with 82 catches for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns. Jackson signed a three-year, $24 million contract with Washington shortly after his Eagles release and joined the Redskins offseason workout program Monday.
As NFC East rivals, the Redskins and Eagles will face each other twice during the 2014 regular season. Coleman, who signed Monday with the Vikings, believes Jackson will be savoring those matchups.
"He was one of those guys you wanted to have play every single Sunday because of the explosiveness, the X-factor that he brought," Coleman said. "I think Philadelphia is going to miss him."