It weighed on him.
The contract DeSean Jackson wanted so badly and for so long finally came this week in the form of a five-year deal that might eventually make him over 50 million.
But before he got the contract he coveted, Jackson held out of training camp, missed meetings, sat on the bench, and worst of all, seemingly let it affect his play on the field. If nothing else, his new deal is a weight off his shoulders.
Feeling relieved might be semi-enough, but its more of a blessing in a sense and Gods gift, Jackson said. Its something no man can do, its the man above that really set it in stone for everything. Its not necessarily being relieved, its more of a blessed feeling of getting what youre worth and what you deserve, and being able to go out there and play at a high level.
And Jackson wants his teammate and friend, LeSean McCoy, to feel that same blessing. He wants his buddy to eventually make more money, have financial security and stay with the Eagles. He wants McCoy to get the deal he deserves.
He just hopes the road to McCoys contract is much less bumpy.
Hes going to be alright, Jackson said during his press conference on Thursday. Hes a young guy and hes very talented. He has a lot of upside to himself, and hopefully he learned a lot through my situation.
Hopefully, he doesnt go down the road I went through. Ive talked to him a little bit about what Ive been through and hopefully hell be alright and wont have to go through what I went through.
On Thursday, Jackson seemed like a different player no, scratch that a different man than he was before, during and immediately after the 2011 season. He seemed more mature and vowed that the days of him being a distraction, the days of holdouts, missed meetings and lackadaisical on-field play were over.
What Ive learned is to be patient in life and dont rush things, Jackson said. Sometimes you get antsy and you feel you deserve this or they should give me that, but at the end of the day, theres nothing that should be rushed.
It goes way beyond that and way past that because its more than relief, its a situation that its almost like a magic wand just blesses you and when it comes you have to be willing to accept everything that comes with it.
I think Ive come to that point in my life where this is what Ive chosen to do and this is what it is. I have to step up and take the challenge, and I cant run from that. You just have to take it, be professional about it, and dont be immature and dont make any mistakes about it and just be professional and not make decisions I would regret.
He hopes McCoy learned enough lessons second-hand so he doesnt go through the same troubled path.
See, McCoys situation this off-season is very similar to Jacksons before the 2011 campaign. Like Jackson, hes about to head into the final year of a four-year rookie contract a contract he has substantially outplayed on his way to becoming one of the top running backs in football.
McCoy is scheduled to earn 615,000 in 2012. Not a bad price for a 23-year-old kid who led the league in rushing touchdowns (17) and overall touchdowns (20) in 2011. Or for a kid who has more touchdowns and yards from scrimmage than any other Eagle through his first three years in the NFL.
But with every touchdown and every rushing yard (1,309 in 2011), McCoys price tag grew, just like DeSeans every time he broke down the field for a long touchdown catch-and-run.
Oh yeah, one last thing the two have in common: Drew Rosenhaus. While some folks swear they can actually see the Devil horns protruding from the agents perfectly quaffed hair, he may still very well be the key to the Eagles future success.
But there is some hope. He got a deal done for Jackson, didnt he?
I think were looking at it in the next couple of years and were trying to have some cap flexibility now and in the future, Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said. And LeSean McCoy is a great player and wed like him to be in Philadelphia for a long time.
The Eagles, as an organization, have had an apparent shift of philosophy from last off-season, when they brought in big-name free agents one after the other. This time around, at least in the early going of free agency, the organization has been focused on renewing their own players, like Todd Herremans, Trent Cole and Jackson.
While McCoy can learn from Jacksons mistakes, he can also probably stand to learn a thing or two from Cole and Herremans, who also outplayed their contracts, but kept their desire for a new contract to themselves.
Yes, I think with Todd Herremans and me, we conducted our business professionally and the way its supposed to be conducted, Cole said on Wednesday. We never went out to the media and complained. We just did what we had to do to keep moving and caused no problems with the team and this atmosphere. We worked things out and continued to play.
McCoy kept his desire for a new deal relatively quiet during the season but its really no secret he wants (and deserves) a new contract.
On Tuesday, McCoy said this via his Twitter account: All around the league everybody is getting paid
Maybe hell be next. If not, it could be a long and bumpy road.
E-mail Dave Zangaro at firstname.lastname@example.org