Jackson mentors youth, talks Super Bowl


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

Best of NHL: Penguins beat Panthers in Sidney Crosby's debut

Best of NHL: Penguins beat Panthers in Sidney Crosby's debut

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby scored in his season debut as the Pittsburgh Penguins rallied to beat the Florida Panthers 3-2 on Tuesday night.

Crosby, who scored on a power play, missed the team's first six games with a concussion. Carl Hagelin and Eric Fehr also scored for the Penguins, who extended a seven-game unbeaten streak against the Panthers.

Marc-Andre Fleury, who has started the first seven games of the season for Pittsburgh, stopped 20 shots. Matt Murray, who backstopped the Penguins to a Stanley Cup in June, served as the backup to Fleury after missing the first six games with a broken hand.

Reilly Smith scored a power-play goal and Mark Pysyk also scored for the Panthers, who have lost 11 of 12 against the Penguins in Pittsburgh.

James Reimer made 19 saves in his second start of the season (see full recap).

Kings top Blue Jackets in overtime
LOS ANGELES -- Alec Martinez scored 1:14 into overtime, and the Los Angeles Kings rallied to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 Tuesday night for their third straight victory.

Drew Doughty scored the tying goal with 5:57 left in regulation for the Kings, who won their third straight overtime game after an 0-3-0 start to the season. Captain Anze Kopitar also scored, and third-string goalie Peter Budaj stopped 19 shots in his third consecutive win.

Cam Atkinson scored a tiebreaking power-play goal late in the second period, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 27 saves for Columbus. Brandon Saad also scored for the Jackets, who had won two straight after an 0-2-0 start.

Martinez ended it by putting a rebound into an open net for the defenseman's second goal of the season (see full recap).

Lightning strike for seven goals in win
TORONTO -- Steven Stamkos matched a career-high with four points -- two goals and two assists -- and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-3 on Tuesday night.

Frederik Andersen gave up seven goals on only 24 shots, the third time in five starts he has allowed at least five goals and fourth time he's allowed four or more. The 27-year-old has an .851 save percentage so far this season.

Alex Killorn, Victor Hedman, Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov and Jonathan Drouin added goals for Tampa Bay, while Ben Bishop made 40 saves.

William Nylander, James van Riemsdyk and Auston Matthews scored for the Maple Leafs, who outshot the Lightning 43-24 (see full recap).

Report: Eagles make inquiry about Bears WR Alshon Jeffery

Report: Eagles make inquiry about Bears WR Alshon Jeffery

The Eagles could be looking for a bigger name outside.

In need of a deep threat — and reportedly in talks about a trade for 49ers wideout Torrey Smith — the Eagles are interested in Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and attempting to make a move for the 2013 Pro Bowler, according to a report Tuesday night by Benjamin Allbright of Mile High Sports Radio.

We followed up with Allbright, who clarified the Eagles simply made an inquiry.

Jeffery, much more of a do-it-all, dynamic wide receiver than the one-dimensional Smith, is 26 years old and can become a free agent at season's end. He'll warrant good money, but would make the Eagles better in more ways than one compared to Smith.

The 6-foot-3, 218-pounder put up 89 catches for 1,421 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013, followed by 85 catches, 1,133 yards receiving and 10 scores in 2014.

This season, he has 520 yards receiving and has yet to find the end zone playing for the quarterback-challenged Bears, who are 1-6 and more than likely thinking about next season.