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

Jim Harbaugh takes blame for Jim Schwartz handshake feud

Jim Harbaugh takes blame for Jim Schwartz handshake feud

With one season in Philadelphia under Jim Schwartz’s belt, Eagles fans are well aware of the intensity the defensive coordinator brings to the sidelines. But before joining Doug Pederson's staff, Schwartz attracted plenty of attention during a five-year stint as head coach of the Detroit Lions from 2009-2013. A highlight of his tenure in the Motor City developed a new wrinkle this week.

Maybe the most memorable moment during his time in Detroit was the unnecessarily ugly midfield feud in 2011’s Week 6 with then-49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh. Schwartz marched to midfield for the postgame handshake after his Lions took their first loss of the season. Harbaugh, a usually-excited guy with cause for a little extra enthusiasm after a fourth straight win, came in too strong for Schwartz’s liking. Schwartz chased down Harbaugh as he ran for the tunnel and the two exchanged some choice words. Coaches and players flocked to the tussle. What started as standard postgame procedure became the national talking-point nobody needed for the ensuing week.

The six-year-old incident returned to the conversation this week with Harbaugh, now the head coach at the University of Michigan, admitting on Barstool Sports’ Pardon My Take podcast (and as transcribed by ESPN) that he was to blame for things getting out of hand. 

"I went in too hard on that, too aggressive on the handshake," Harbaugh said on the podcast. "We've talked, and we're good. We're back to friends. ... There is a protocol in a postgame handshake. I've been there as the winner. I've been there as a loser. You just, 'Nice game,' then go celebrate. Premature celebration there, in the wrong."

On top of discussing his gifting Pope Francis a pair of Jordan sneakers and his theory that bringing a glove to catch a foul ball is acceptable for fans, Harbaugh went on to explain the last time he got in a real fight, as opposed to the silly scrum that went down at Ford Field that fateful day. He was 39, at the end of his days as a player, and got into it with two men at a restaurant.

"I did not win," he said. "I cannot say I won. I didn't get crushed, either. I got some blows in."

Harbaugh has a reputation for his passion, and the handshake debacle with Schwartz was no exception. It’s just that his passion often translates to doing things in a non-traditional way. He’s the khaki’s guy, always sporting his trademark dad-pants on the sidelines — he even tucked an Allen Iverson jersey into them once. He’ll do anything to get a leg up in recruiting, for example, sleeping over at a recruit's house for some “Netflix and Chill.”

Schwartz, similarly, is frequently fired up, and that aggression bleeds into his defensive scheme. 

Harbaugh is in the college game now, so the development in this nearly forgotten exchange isn’t life-changing. But if he ever returns to the pros, it’s good to know a postgame handshake with Schwartz wouldn't revive any bad blood.

Phillies minor league affiliate to ban tacos for one night to demonstrate bacon superiority

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Phillies minor league affiliate to ban tacos for one night to demonstrate bacon superiority

Everybody loves bacon. Everybody loves tacos. So why can't we all just get along and eat bacon tacos?

That's not what will go down on Saturday night when the Lehigh Valley IronPigs are BANNING the sale of tacos at all concession stands at Coca-Cola park.

Brutal!

It's all part of the Bacon vs. Taco night as the IronPigs host the Fresno Tacos.

"It was an easy decision. Serving tacos on Saturday would be hypocritical," said Lehigh Valley IronPigs President and General Manager, Kurt Landes.  "Saturday is about proving once and for all that there is absolutely no substitute for bacon. Period."

Yeah, but like I said: BACON TACOS.

The IronPigs are at least trying to make up for their lack of tacos by making bacon bits available to add to any food item for the low price of 75 cents. Seems like a steal. And there's always the candied maple bacon on a stick at least.

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We're going to share some of the official press release for this event because it's just so juicy:

While the feud between Lehigh Valley and Fresno seemingly dates back to the beginning of mankind (or at least the beginning of Minor League Baseball), we should remind you that it was the IronPigs who first received national and international acclaim in 2014 for their "Smell the Change" rebrand that included the introduction of their now iconic bacon strip on-field cap and bacon-themed uniform. The IronPigs have doubled-down on bacon recently, embracing the "Bacon, USA" theme by doubling the amount of bacon sold at all games. The original bacon cap remains one of the top-selling lids in the history of Minor League Baseball. With widespread interest and publicity, the bacon logo quickly sold to each of the 50 states as well as Australia, Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom.

It wasn't until a year later in 2015 that the Fresno Grizzlies announced a one-game name change to "Tacos" (we don't get it either) hoping to garner similar attention while claiming the Central Valley of California as the "Taco Capital of the World."

Regardless of your favorite team or food, there's little argument that these two clubs have distinguished themselves promotionally throughout Minor League Baseball and professional sports. In fact, the IronPigs have been awarded the most Golden Bobbleheads in the history of the award, honoring promotional excellence in Minor League Baseball across various categories. Recently, Fresno captured the top prize in 2015 and Lehigh Valley in 2016. The winner of this contest will have a leg up in the race for the 2017 Golden Bobblehead award.