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Derrick Gunn recently sat down with DeSean Jackson to discuss the wide receiver's thoughts on Chip Kelly's new offense, Jackson's career thus far, his relationship with his father, his tweets and his upbringing. Here's Part III of Gunner's three-part interview with Jackson:
Derrick Gunn: I saw this tweet you put out and it really caught my eye. It said, "Don't expect people to understand your grind when God didn't give them your vision." What did you mean by that?
DeSean Jackson: It's a daily grind being who you are. I really say growing up as a young kid from Los Angeles, California -- the obstacles I had to go through -- everyone kind of wanted to be the top player in the draft, the top pick [in] regards to different sports. I grew up playing every sport. In regards to whether it was football, baseball, running track, basketball or whatever it was, I was fortunate enough to be picked and chosen. I was able to go every step of the way in regards to how bad of a little kid I was or how much trouble that I got into. I was able to know when to turn the light on and off.
However I was raised or how I grew up, with me going to Cal, I really couldn't be that same person. I really had to go and show a different light and be intelligent and sit in front of teachers and act like I really wanted to learn and really wanted to know. I think it's really more of a perception, and that quote really just comes down to everyone is not going to understand your grind. Not everyone is going to be chosen and be picked to do certain things in this life. I'm just fortunate I was able to be picked. However many players have been fortunate enough to get to the NFL. A lot of players every year submit to come to the NFL, what is it 1,500 or 2,000 to become a professional athlete. I'm blessed to be here.
G: Another tweet that came out last week that caught a lot of people's attention was, "I'm high on life or pot. OK it's just the pot haha." Now, you tried to clarify what it meant, and I'm giving you an opportunity now. What did you mean by that?
DJ: I'm talking about Jaccpot. Jaccpot, two C's to the P-O-T. That's the pot. As far as anything else, I'm a role model. I look up to people who are doing the right things. I want people to look up to me the same way, kids and the whole nine. To clarify it's two C's and a pot -- that's Jaccpot. That's Jaccpot.
G: Now a lot of people don't get to see the good you do. The money you donate to things, the kids that you help time and time again. You put other things out there and people jump on it right away. Do you think in a lot of cases you're misunderstood?
DJ: At times, yeah. I really don't live my life to worry about how people look at me. I have a life to do and shed a light on my last name. My mother and father raised a young man that is really respectful, treat women to the utmost respect, really don't disrespect people and I'm a very honorable man. So I just give respect and I expect people to give it back. And if it comes down to a situation where that doesn't happen then from then on you have to handle it.
I'm a firm believer of every man you have a word, and if I take my word that's all I have to go off of. I don't say I'm going to do this and then never do it. Whatever comes out of my mouth that's what I'm going to do. I really live my life to how I want to live it. Coming from where I come from with all the negativity I had to go through and deal with from the drug abuse to the violence that I saw. I mean actually seeing people get shot in front of my family, it's just real in the streets coming from where I come from.
To be able to be where I'm at now and get away from that, I'm going to try to live it as long as I can. If the day comes where I'm cut or not good enough to play the sport anymore, hopefully I'll have enough money saved up to start a business or do whatever I want to do. I'm very blessed and honored that I don't have to live the life that I grew up in and saw on an everyday basis. At times, I do go back and relate to certain areas where my granny lives and South Central, where I'm still able to come around and show light to them, because I don't want to be this person that I've made it and then just turned my back to all these people where I grew up and who helped me get to where I came from.
I'm just able to say I'm blessed and honored to go back and help them people. And, I just want to see everybody go out there and take advantage of whatever it is in life and not expect handouts, but go out there and work for it. That's why I tell people everyday, people ask, "Desean, can I..." Nobody gave me nothing. I went out and worked for it myself. As long as everyone understands that, I think that the sky's the limit.
G: You have a camp coming up, July 11-13, I believe it is. What's the camp about and who does it benefit?
DJ: It benefits underprivileged kids in the city out here in Philadelphia. I've been doing this camp for the past couple of years, probably going on three or four years. Every year it's a great turnout. All the inner city kids from Philadelphia come out and it's actually a great time out there.
Me and my older brother and some of the guys I grew up playing with actually come here. Sometimes some of the teammates come out and show their support as well. But, it's really just to give these kids some principles on life. Even if it's not playing football, whatever it is to being a doctor, a lawyer, a dentist, whatever it is. I just want them to come here and start on skills of working hard, believing you have the talent regardless of anybody negative or saying you can't do it. Believe you have the talent, and whatever your talent is, work toward it. And [with] regards to anyone out there saying you can't do it, go out there and prove them wrong.