There has never been an Eagles wide receiver who has matched DeSean Jackson in the theatrics department. Big plays? He made the biggest. Speed down the field? Nobody touched Jackson. Threatening a defense? For someone so small, Jackson always made secondaries cower and send players his way, hoping he wouldn't blow the lid off coverage and track down a pass in the open field.
One of the greatest Eagles draft picks – the 49th pick in the 2008 NFL Draft – Jackson was released Friday prior to the start of the new league year on March 17. Jackson earned three Pro Bowls and an All-Pro nod in his first six Eagles seasons. He was released following the 2013 season and then rejoined Philadelphia after spending three seasons in Washington and two in Tampa Bay, a heralded reunion prior to the 2019 season.
It started well enough, as Jackson caught a pair of touchdown passes of 51 and 53 yards from quarterback Carson Wentz in the '19 opening-day win over Washington, part of an eight-catch, 154-yard afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field. Unfortunately, injuries sidelined him for the majority of the 2019 and 2020 seasons, but his final hurrah was an 81-yard catch-and-run touchdown in a December 27 loss at Dallas. Jackson somersaulted into the end zone in what would be the final of many game-breaking highlights in an Eagles uniform for No. 10.
The final two seasons shouldn't take away from what Jackson brought to the table in his first six seasons as an Eagle. An electrifying talent with natural ball-catching abilities, breathtaking speed, and the skills to track a deep pass like few receivers in the game, Jackson was an integral part of the Eagles' offense from the jump. He caught 62 passes for 910 yards and a pair of scores as a rookie, adding a punt return for a touchdown in that first season. In 2009, Jackson made the first of his three Pro Bowls as an Eagle, catching 62 passes for 1,156 yards and nine touchdowns, and adding another pair of scores on punt returns, averaging a whopping 15.2 yards per punt return. He scored at least one touchdown in five straight games, the second-longest streak in franchise history in that category.
Jackson's 65-yard punt return on the final play of the game to beat the Giants in 2010 was, of course, one of the greatest plays in the history of the franchise – the play was the first in NFL history to end with a punt return for a winning touchdown and it was awarded an ESPY for Best Game of the Year – and it demonstrated his flair for the dramatic and the danger Jackson posed every time he had the ball in his hands.
His 376 receptions as an Eagle rank sixth in franchise history, and he's third in the record books with 6,512 receiving yards, tied for fourth with an average of 17.2 yards per reception, and Jackson ranks ninth in team history with 35 receiving touchdowns. Jackson had eight games in his Eagles career with at least 150 receiving yards, a team record. Jackson's four punt returns for touchdowns are tied with Darren Sproles in the Eagles' record books.
Check out the best photos from DeSean Jackson's first tenure with the Eagles.