DeSean Jackson concluded his final post-game remarks of the season with two words: "Go Eagles."
The fourth-year wide receiver, set to become a free agent in the offseason, was sending a message that there's one place, above all others, where he wants to continue his career when the 2012 season gets underway.
"I don't know if I'm going to be here next year or not," Jackson said following the Eagles' 34-10 win over the Washington Redskins. "It's kind of out of my control, out of my power. I hope that I'll be here. These guys on this team and just the fans, it's home for myself. We'll see how it plays out."
On the first day of 2012, Jackson concluded the 2011 season in style, hauling in a 62-yard touchdown reception in double coverage to provide a lasting memory before the offseason. It was Jackson's first touchdown of over 40 yards this season. On the day, Jackson finished with four catches for 86 yards, giving him 58 catches for 961 yards on the season, his lowest yardage total since his rookie season.
Despite a year of frustrations, which culminated in his deactivation against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 10, Jackson called this season a learning experience.
"I've learned to the utmost everything about (football) being a business," Jackson said. "Professionally, (I learned) to come to work and not let things affect me. I can admit to certain things affecting me during the season. I just want to apologize ... Handling that, I probably could have handled that a little different, but now sitting here after the season's over, I can just say I was able to put it behind me and really just fight for my teammates, fight for this organization and just really knowing something good out of the situation was going to happen. I was able to get to that and move forward.
"Honestly, it's kind of fighting a battle that you really can't control. At the end of the day, I play football, that's what I do, that's what my job is. I can't really get frustrated over contract situations or if I'm not paid how I think I should be. Whatever the case may be, I can't allow that to go on as a professional. I'm young still, I went through what I went through but I was able to, I'd say, shake myself out of it and come back to reality and just give it my all and play hard and do everything the right way. I think you can tell a lot about a person and his character just to see how they finish. It's not how you start, it's how you finish."
Meanwhile, Jackson's teammates were equally disappointed in the end to the season, but hopeful of a reunion.
"I hope DeSean's back," said tight end Brent Celek. "He's a great asset to our team. What he does to defenses, I say it every week, he can take the top off of any defense and guys are scared of him. I really think we need him. I hope he's back. And he's a good teammate, I like the guy."
Reading between the lines following the Eagles' win, Jackson's pride in the season-closing four-game winning streak shines through. Heading into an uncertain offseason, Jackson's apparent commitment to his teammates is something to remember.
"We didn't have a chance to go out there and get to the playoffs, so it was out of our control," Jackson said of the game. "As a team, we were focused to come in and just finish the year strong. I think we finished the year strong and then we started the year strong. Hopefully, next year it gets a lot better."