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DeSean Jackson breaks year's silence and talks about Hitler, injuries and rookie WRs

Martin Frank
Delaware News Journal

PHILADELPHIA – DeSean Jackson, speaking to Eagles' reporters Wednesday for the first time in nearly a year, touched on a wide range of topics, beginning with his remorse over his Instagram post in July glorifying Adolf Hitler.

Jackson, the 33-year-old wide receiver, also talked about his involvement in racial justice issues, the core muscle injury that kept him out of all but the Eagles' season opener last season, and his thoughts on Eagles rookie Jalen Reagor.

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Here are five takeaways from Jackson's media session:

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson adjusts his uniform during an NFL football training camp practice in Philadelphia, Monday, Aug. 17, 2020.

1. Remorse over Hitler posts

Eagles CEO and president Jeffrey Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman, both of whom are Jewish, considered releasing Jackson in July over the posts glorifying Hitler. They decided to fine Jackson and outlined several conditions for remaining on the team, including educating himself about the plight of Jews at the hands of the Nazis during the Holocaust and their persecution throughout history.

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Jackson said he has been doing just that. Jackson has posted over the past several weeks that he has met with Holocaust survivors, as well as expressing the desire to visit a concentration camp in Eastern Europe.

"The biggest thing I can say is just educate and learn from it," Jackson said. "Over the past few months, I had to reflect on life. People make mistakes in life, and that was a mistake I made. I had to own up to it as a man, which I did. But I think I’m taking the proper steps and educating myself and learning from something I didn’t really know too much about."

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Jackson then pivoted to the Black Lives Matter movement, something he has been vocal about. He said he has worked in Black communities, with police officers and in educational reform in the inner cities, and how it's not detracting from focusing on the season.

"I feel like every topic is important," Jackson said. "You just have to try to focus your time on the importance of what you’re trying to accomplish in the world today. Myself, I feel like I’ve been a stand-up guy in my community where I come from, to go into those areas that are uncomfortable for a lot of people."

Eagles' DeSean Jackson (10) brings in a deep pass in front of a diving Josh Norman (24) to score Sept. 8 at Lincoln Financial Field.

2. Jackson is ready to play, finally

The Eagles got a glimpse of what they could expect from Jackson last season in the opener, when he had touchdown catches of 51 and 53 yards against Washington.

The next week, Jackson suffered a core muscle injury in the first quarter. He decided not to have surgery at that time, relying partly on the advice of doctors and partly because he never had surgery before.

Jackson tried to return on Nov. 3, but he left the game in the first quarter and didn't return. He decided to have surgery at that point.

"If I could do it all over again, I probably would get surgery the first time around, but you live and you learn," he said.

Jackson also said that he would have returned for the second round of the playoffs had the Eagles beaten the Seahawks in the first round.

The Eagles lost 17-9, and that gave Jackson more time to heal. He also focused more on yoga, stretching and improving his diet.

3. Jackson is primed for a big year

That's also why Jackson said he's expecting big things this season, even at 33.

"I know what I’m capable of doing when I’m healthy and out there on that field, and what I bring to this team," he said. "I feel my track record speaks for itself.

"The one (game) I did play in, whoever was watching that game, knows what DeSean Jackson can still do. Once again, staying healthy is a big key to this, so regardless of the naysayers, doubters, the nonbelievers, I live for that ... I ain’t going to speak too much. I’m going to show it on Sunday. I know what I’m capable of doing.

"I have a lot of juice left in me. For everybody sitting at home, get your popcorn ready, and get ready for Sunday."

4. Jackson impressed with Reagor

While Jackson said he has worked with the Eagles' three rookie wide receivers, Reagor, John Hightower and Quez Watkins, he is especially impressed with Reagor, the Eagles' first-round pick.

Reagor has been out with a shoulder injury suffered on Aug. 30, but he was a limited participant in practice Wednesday and there's a chance he could play Sunday.

"Jalen, man, is an interesting cat," Jackson said. "He’s a young guy with a lot of confidence. Since Day One, I saw his confidence level. He came in, nothing was too big for him. He came in, he earned his respect, he’s put in the work and he’s made plays. I see a lot of upside to him. One thing I can tell you about him is he’s got heart and he’s got confidence."

5. More on the young receivers

Jackson added this on the young receiving corps:

"These young guys, man, they’ve been showing nothing but fierce competitive natures," he said. "They work hard, they love to ask questions – the uncomfortable questions. I feel like a lot of young guys coming up in this league, they’re given the spotlight right away, depending on draft status or whatever the case may be. It’s something you’ve gotta earn in this league.

"That’s something that doesn’t go unnoticed. Biggest thing I can tell these young guys is just go out there and earn whatever it is you want."

Injury updates

The Eagles released their first injury report Wednesday, as required by the NFL. That means that actual injuries had to be listed.

For the Eagles, DT Javon Hargrave (pectoral, hamstring) and WR Alshon Jeffery (foot) didn't participate. DE Derek Barnett (hamstring), RT Lane Johnson (ankle), WR Jalen Reagor (shoulder) and RB Miles Sanders (hamstring) were limited.

Contact Martin Frank at mfrank@delawareonline.com. Follow on Twitter @Mfranknfl.