Jackson mentors youth, talks Super Bowl

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Jackson mentors youth, talks Super Bowl

It was hot. Frankly, it was really hot.

Then again, kids aren't exactly worried about the heat when they get to take the football field with an athlete like DeSean Jackson.

The Eagles' wide receiver hosted his third-annual football camp for local youth in Moorestown, N.J. Friday morning. It's a two-day program in which Jackson and his staff coach kids ages 7-16, providing lessons for use on and off the field.

"It's a driving situation for a kid to be inspired by an NFL player," Jackson said. "I'm just fortunate to be in the position I'm in. I want to come out and help, and not only let these guys come out here and have fun, but actually teach them life skills as well -- teamwork, how to work with another. To have fun, but to get something out of it."

Over 150 kids dressed in shorts and camp T-shirts ran drills as Jackson and his staff shared tips and shouted words of encouragement, words that, coming from a Pro Bowler, have an extra chance to resonate.

"I think it's more physical," he said of the opportunity to interact up-close, rather than have the kids admire him from the stands or from home. "They're actually seeing it in-person. They're able to touch it, to talk to me afterwards."

The camp isn't Jackson's only foray into mentoring youth. He appeared on the "The View" last year to meet with a local boy who was being persistently bullied. A big fan of Jackson's in the first place, he received an autographed jersey from No. 10 himself.

"DeSean is really committed to helping the young guys. It's a big deal to he and his family," Jackson's agent Drew Rosenhaus said. "This is more than a football camp. It's about staying away from drugs, staying away from bullying, studying hard...

"He's very committed to being a role model."

The sight of Rosenhaus not just at the camp, but also in an Eagles hat certainly says something about how times have changed for both he and Jackson. Once public enemy No. 1 dating back to his press conference in Terrell Owens' driveway, Rosenhaus is now sporting the team's logo following an off-season signing period in which three of his clients -- Jackson, LeSean McCoy and Evan Mathis -- inked long-term deals with the club.

As for Jackson in specific, his future with the Eagles became increasingly uncertain last season as his contract concerns remained unsettled. Now, Rosenhaus is wearing the team hat and Jackson has a five-year, 48.5 million contract, 18 million of which is guaranteed.

"This time last year, we weren't sure what the future held in terms of his time in Philadelphia," Rosenhaus said. "We didn't know if he was going to play out his contract or get traded. It's just terrific that he was able to stay with the team and get a good deal and now he's got all of his focus on football and doing things like this."

Things like this -- the camp, for instance -- allow Jackson to show a side of himself most fans don't get a chance to see. Still, for as much as he enjoys taking the opportunity to use his fame for good, next season remains at the forefront of his mind.

"Everybody knows we're due for a Super Bowl," Jackson said. "I think everyone understands that and we know it's not an easy task. The past couple years of me being here, being so close, getting to the playoffs, and then last year not making the playoffs, I think the team and the coaches are at a level now where we understand what it is to have an opportunity to win and know what's at stake.

"Everybody's working hard at one common goal. Contracts -- all that type of stuff is out the way now. We're able to focus as a team. We're out there having fun."

So were the more than 150 kids on the field Friday, getting a chance to interact with someone like Jackson.

E-mail Nick Menta at nmenta@comcastsportsnet.com

NHL Notes: Predators acquire P.K. Subban from Canadiens for Shea Weber

NHL Notes: Predators acquire P.K. Subban from Canadiens for Shea Weber

The Nashville Predators pulled off a blockbuster before the start of free agency Wednesday by acquiring P.K. Subban from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Shea Weber, a swap of All-Star defensemen.

Subban won the Norris Trophy as the NHL's top defenseman in 2013 and had six goals and 45 assists last season before suffering an injury. The offensive-minded, dynamic 27-year-old has 63 goals and 215 assists in 434 career games, all with the Canadiens.

Weber, who turns 31 on Aug. 14, had been with Nashville since the start of his NHL career in 2005. He signed a $110 million, 14-year offer sheet with Philadelphia as a restricted free agent in 2012, but Nashville matched it to keep him. The three-time Norris Trophy finalist was a team captain and had 20 goals and 31 assists last season.

Devils: Adam Larsson traded to Oilers for former No. 1 pick Taylor Hall 
NEWARK, N.J. -- The New Jersey Devils have acquired former No. 1 overall draft pick Taylor Hall from the Edmonton Oilers for defenseman Adam Larsson.

The teams announced the trade Wednesday, two days before the start of free agency.

The trade gives the goal-starved Devils an exciting young left wing who was the No. 1 pick overall in 2014. The Oilers get a solid defenseman who was the No. 4 overall selection in 2011.

The 24-year-old Hall spent his entire six-year career with the Oilers, collecting 132 goals and 196 assists in 381 NHL games. He has led Edmonton in scoring for three of the last four seasons, and has finished in the top three on the squad in each of his six seasons. This past year, he had 26 goals and 39 assists. He represented the Oilers at the 2016 NHL All-Star Game.

Larsson had 3 goals and 15 assists, playing in all 82 games on the Devils' top defensive pairing.

Blue Jackets: Seth Jones signs 6-year deal worth $32.4 million
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed defenseman Seth Jones to a $32.4 million, six-year contract.

Jones will count $5.4 million against the salary cap through the 2020-21 NHL season. He was a pending restricted free agent.

General manager Jarmo Kekalainen says reaching a long-term agreement with Jones was an offseason priority.

Agent Pat Brisson confirmed the terms of the contract, which includes a modified no-trade clause in years five and six.

Jones was the fourth overall pick in the 2013 draft to the Nashville Predators. The Blue Jackets acquired him in a January trade that sent center Ryan Johansen to Nashville.

In three NHL seasons, the 21-year-old Jones has 17 goals and 66 assists for 83 points. Kekalainen says Jones was just beginning to tap into his potential.

Lightning: Steven Stamkos elects to re-sign 
Two people familiar with the decision have confirmed to The Associated Press that Lightning captain Steven Stamkos is staying put in Tampa Bay.

The people spoke on the condition of anonymity on Wednesday because the Lightning have not announced the decision. Details of the contract weren't immediately available.

The agreement was reached two days before the 26-year-old Stamkos had the opportunity to test free agency, where he was expected to command lucrative offers from numerous bidders, including the Toronto Maple Leafs, Buffalo Sabres and Detroit Red Wings.

Instead, the two-time NHL scoring champ chose to stay with the franchise that selected him with the No. 1 pick in the 2008 draft.

Blues: Kyle Brodziak signs 2-year contract extension
ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues have signed forward Kyle Brodziak to a two-year contract extension.

The 32-year-old Brodziak had two goals in the playoffs after totaling 11 points in 76 regular-season games leading the checking line.

The 11-year veteran also has played for Edmonton and Minnesota and has 239 points in 697 career games. He was a seventh-round draft pick by the Oilers in 2003.

The Blues also announced Wednesday that the Chicago Wolves, their American Hockey League affiliate, have named Craig Berube head coach. The 50-year-old Berube, former head coach at Philadelphia from 2013-15, got a two-year contract.

Berube played 17 seasons with the Flyers, Maple Leafs, Flames, Capitals and Islanders.

Sabres: Casey Nelson signs 2-year contract extension
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Sabres have signed defenseman Casey Nelson to a two-year contract extension.

Nelson made his NHL debut in March last season after signing a one-year deal with Buffalo shortly after completing his college career at Minnesota State. He had four assists in seven games with the Sabres.

He will have an opportunity to compete for a spot on the Sabres roster this season.

In college, the 6-foot-2, 183-pound Nelson was the WCHA's defensive player of the year last season. Overall, the Wisconsin native had 14 goals and 46 assists for 60 points in 99 career college games.

Flyers kick off annual developmental camp next Thursday

Flyers kick off annual developmental camp next Thursday

The Flyers' annual developmental camp opens next Thursday at Skate Zone in Voorhees, New Jersey, and concludes on July 11.

The following day, the rookies and prospects — 34 in all — head to Stone Harbor for the Trial on the Isle.

This camp is overseen by developmental coaches John Riley and Kjell Samuelsson. This is mostly a drills 'n skills exercise highlighted by a 3-on-3 tournament at the very end.

“This is a week for you to get better,” general manager Ron Hextall said. “We are not going to evaluate you. We’re going to find ways to try and make you better, try and send you away with certain things to work on the rest of the summer to make yourself better.

“So we’re very strict about that. I tell everybody on our staff, no evaluations here. You want to have the kids unguarded where they say, ‘Hey, I feel like I need to work on this,’ and bang, John Riley or Kjell Samuelsson give them a template to work on, whatever they need to work on, strength coach. So that’s the time we really want them to try and get better.”

The real “camp” starts with full Flyers training camp in September.

“Training camp is different,” Hextall said. “Kids who played really well in junior have given themselves a leg up in trying to make our team. That’s really the first part of the tryout.”

This year’s development camp includes nine of the Flyers’ 10 selections from last week’s NHL draft in Buffalo, as well as the club’s first-round selections from 2013 through 2015.

A total of 16 forwards, 12 defensemen and six goaltenders are scheduled to attend.

Center German Rubtsov, the Flyers’ first-round pick (No. 22) from this year’s draft, won’t be attending the developmental camp. He was slated to return to Russia before the July 4 holiday.

On-ice is tentatively scheduled for 8:30 a.m. by specific groups, starting on July 7 with goalies. Skaters won’t be on the ice before 10 a.m.

The 3-on-3 tournament on July 11 begins at 3 p.m.

For a complete camp roster, click here.