DeSean Jackson – two words that have changed the face and style of the Eagles offense since April 26, 2008. Bill Jackson – two words that have changed the purpose of Jackson’s talents on the field since May 14, 2009.
DeSean Jackson and his family have always been tightly knit, but the relationship he had with his father was special. Bill Jackson strived to help DeSean with his dreams and goals and the two were practically best friends. Attending Long Beach Poly High School in California, DeSean was a football and baseball star. He was scouted by the Phillies and the Rays. Ultimately, he decided to pursue a career in football. He received offers from both Cal and USC. Waiting until almost the deadline to announce, he committed to the Cal football program. After having a record-breaking collegiate career, he declared for the 2008 NFL Draft. Bill Jackson was always by his side throughout his high school and collegiate careers. He played an instrumental part in his decision to pursue football rather than baseball and continuously pushed him to work and reach his goals.
DeSean was drafted by the Eagles as the 49th pick overall. How he was still available at this point in the draft remains a mystery, but a blessing for Eagles fans. The 2008 NFL Draft was the first time no wide receivers were taken in the first round. DeSean was ranked pre-draft as one of the top ten wide outs available and Jerry Rice was quoted as saying “he’s the fastest receiver I’ve ever seen.”
DeSean Jackson had a break out rookie year. Quickly becoming a fan favorite and the number one receiver due to injuries, Jackson again broke records, only this time in the NFL. DeSean’s father, Bill Jackson, was with DeSean every step of the way, attending nearly every game. You will have never met a prouder father than Bill Jackson. When the Eagles played in San Francisco, about forty to fifty of Jackson’s friends and family attended the game to support him. Bill Jackson was hospitalized with pancreatic cancer during the Eagles’ playoff run this January. DeSean struggled with his emotions and strived to make a run at the Super Bowl while his father was alive. Unfortunately, that goal fell short by a 4th Quarter Arizona Cardinals push in the NFC Championship Game.
On May 14, 2009, Bill Jackson passed away with his family and DeSean by his side. DeSean has dedicated the 2009 season to his father’s memory. And as can be witnessed by his performance throughout the first 6 games of the season, he has honored his father well. Most recently, DeSean had two remarkable plays against the Redskins Monday night – 67-yard rushing touchdown and 57-yard receiving touchdown. Jackson will be named NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance Monday night, his second honor this year (Special Teams Player of the Month – September). Many current NFL players as well as retired players, analysts and fans all agree on one thing – DeSean Jackson is one of the fastest and most explosive receivers to ever play the game. In his post-game reaction interview on Monday night when asked which of the two touchdowns was more special to him, DeSean stated “I’m doing this for my pops – he’s not here to see it, so I’m doing it for him.”
It will be amazing to watch his talent develop and improve throughout his career. For this year though, DeSean Jackson is running on inspiration and the hope to make his father even prouder and honor his memory by reaching the Super Bowl…