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Philadelphia Eagles News

WR Jason Avant

Opening Remarks: "It's a privilege to be up here at this moment with the new contract. I realized that it's really not about me. I give credit, foremost, to Jesus Christ for just changing my life around; just thank Him for everything. I give thanks to my family, my wife, Stacy, cousins and everyone. My grandmother, who's smiling down on me even now for praying for me to be in a situation like this. I also want to thank the Eagles organization for taking a chance on me. Those people, Mr. (Jeffrey) Lurie, Mr. (Joe) Banner, (general manager) Howie Roseman and coach (Andy) Reid, they were in a tough position because I didn't run the best 40-time and it was kind of looked down upon at that time. They took a chance on me and I really am thankful for that. Hopefully, I can continue to have some success in this league and I'm just thankful for them. I'm thankful for my teammates; (QB) Donovan (McNabb) who's been leading me and showing me the ropes here for a while. My other teammates, the receivers, I know that I wouldn't be in this position if it wasn't for the DeSean Jackson's and even going back to Greg Lewis and all those guys. The (Brian) Dawkins's and the (Brian) Westbrook's and all those people that have been really influential. So, I realized that it's not about me and I'm just thankful for this moment."

On his hard work and dedication that he has put in over the years: "I don't want to take this like, 'You got the contract, you're done.' No, it's not one of those things with me. I'm still working hard. It's been a long time because that draft, in that moment, I told Rodney Harrison the day of the draft - he had called me and I was kind of disappointed that I didn't go in the first day. He called me and said, 'You just have to let this be fuel for you; to prove a lot of people wrong. That it's not about a 40-time, it's about being a good football player.' I'm just thankful to coach Reid and those people that were there, (wide receivers coach David) Culley, and all those that helped draft me for looking past the 40-time and really focusing on what type of player I was. I owe a lot of people for it and I'm just thankful for that and I'm going to continue to try to make them proud."

On his connection with Rodney Harrison: "I've known Rodney for a long time now. I met him as a sophomore in high school. One of my brothers knew him. He would call me sometimes 12 o'clock, one o'clock in the morning and say something like this, 'Hey, I knew you would be asleep. I just got done doing 200 push-ups, 200 sit-ups and I'm a winner and you're a loser. Click.' And hang up the phone. That type of thing inspired me. It used to have me running around the projects in Atgeld Gardens in Chicago at 12 o'clock at night running receiver patterns when everyone else was partying. I'm thankful for it."

On developing as a consistent slot receiver: "I think it has something to do with not considering yourself as too good to do things. I'm thankful to be in this position. When I play the game of football, this is true, this is from my heart, it's not something that I want to go out and get all the catches. I'm just thankful to be out there on the field each moment. I'm coming from a place where people are getting shot in the streets and I know that could have been me. So, for me to come out and play the game of football, it makes no sense to me to go out and want all the accolades and the credit. I'm just thankful being out there. When I have an opportunity, wherever it is, I want to make the best of that opportunity. Not for me, for winning, and also for my teammates. A lot of guys put in a lot of work and I don't want to be that one that let them down in a critical situation. I don't focus on who's over the middle or how many times it comes to me. When it's my time, are you making the best play on it?"

On whether the team is making the right moves during free agency: "I'm not in a position but, at the same time, I know guys here are well able to win games. I believe this team has the potential and the talent, we just have to learn how to do it consistently. I think this team is talented enough as is. At the same time, I know there are going to be some weak points and I'm pretty sure that the Eagles are going to address whatever weak points that the team has. The offseason is not over, so you never know. Just because the team hasn't made a splash early doesn't mean that they're not going to make one. For the fans and different things like that, I want them to have confidence in the team that's here and knowing that we're going to put our best foot forward; knowing that we're going to give our best effort. I'm just thankful because I know that the city of Philadelphia, they thrive on hard work. That's the team that we have. I'm just thankful to be a part of a city like that, that's tough, it's a gritty city. I think that's the type of guys that we have in the locker room and I think the management recognizes that."

On his relationship with Marlin Jackson: "I know Marlin, I know him. If we can get him, it would be great. You know more than I do. If he were to come here or if that's in the Eagles plans I'm going to do my best to talk to him and everything like that. I don't know if that's true or not. He's a good guy; he's a competitor and I would love to play with him."

On whether his role with the team is a "thankless" one: "It depends on who you're playing for. If you're playing to go out and your whole desire is to go to the Pro Bowl and your whole desire is to do this - not saying there's nothing wrong with those guys - but that's just not who I am. When I get up in the morning and when I look in the mirror, I want to be happy about that person. When I get up in the morning, God, Jesus, am I satisfying you? And with my game and with my play, that's my whole intent. So, it's beyond the Philadelphia Eagles when it comes to that. And, by that, it helps me help my team. I think the organization recognizes that because when it's not about you, you're not going to be a hindrance in the locker room, you're going to encourage guys even if they're not playing well; all those type of things. The ball is not coming your way, are you going to throw a temper tantrum or are you going to encourage somebody else that's doing well. That's what I do and I'm proud of it. The game doesn't dictate my happiness, my happiness comes from above."

On whether the current quarterback dilemma affected his decision on signing a multi-year deal: "Again, my job is to go across the middle and catch the ball and get hit. That's out of my jurisdiction there. I know we have a talented group of quarterbacks and any of those guys are well able to play. I love the city, I love the team, I love the mindset of the coaches here. I didn't really want to have to go to a place besides Philadelphia. I really wanted to be here. I like the city, I love my receivers coach and I like the guys that we have in the quarterback room; every one of them. It really didn't affect my role because I like the city so much and I like everyone here; they're nice. It's just small things like that. I hear stories all around the league. So, I'm just thankful here."

On whether he entertained any offers from other teams: "No, not really. Just here, just here. This is where I wanted to be. My agent was working hard and he wanted me to be more open-minded, but this is where I wanted to be."

On whether his agent received any calls from other teams: "I don't know, I didn't ask him. I just made sure I let him know."

On whether he had a financial goal in mind when considering the deal: "Working with agents and different things like that, they're going to compare and contrast the guys that are in a similar position all around the league and try to get you the best deal possible. I told him to go do his job now, I'm not paying him for nothing. So, he did a good job in getting a fair deal. I'm not about breaking the bank or anything like that. Just something that was fair for the situation that I was in. When you find a place that's good for you and the people that are good, I think it's more important to be around rather than money."

On whether his deal is better now than what it would have been if he had signed earlier compared to some previous guys that have signed: "The truth is, is that those guys had separate agents at different times. It was discussed and different things like that, but there was never anything solid on the table. So, I don't know what I would have gotten then. When this presented itself, I thought it was a good deal and my agent thought it was a good deal and he said, 'Jason, you could hold out and probably get something whenever.' But I wanted to be here."

On having arguably the best hands on the team: "I think that (TE Brent) Celek has the best hands, first of all. He catches pretty natural. I think it's something that's God-given as far as just natural hands. A lot of guys have natural hands. Then, there's something that you have to do. You can give DeSean his speed, but he had to do something in order to constantly get better at it; running track and all those type of things. I think that being on the Jugs machines, going out to Arizona, constantly focused on tennis balls and stuff running around my house, trying to catch everything I can. I think that type of thing helps. It's something that I'm constantly working on. One thing that my college coach said, 'You look good running after the ball, but you have to catch it first. You can run real fast, but can you catch it?' Herm Edwards said there are a lot of guys that run a 4.3, but they have 4.7 hands. I want to be one of those guys that have 4.2 hands."

On running around the house with a tennis ball in his hand: "Trying to catch anything; yeah, tennis balls, anything. Just trying to get better at what I do. You don't want to get to a place where you're content in this game as far as working hard. I've realized that there are guys that are coming in and out of this league each day and one thing that I'm going to do is put myself in the best position to stay here. I like being here, so whatever I need to do to be the best player I can, that's what I'm going to do."

On being allowed to play ball in his house: "Yeah. When you do it for a living, you can bounce it off the wall, do whatever you want with it. My wife doesn't care, she throws me stuff."

On the thought of being traded or moved to another team prior to signing a multi-year deal: "Let me tell you something. I don't really think about all those things. I think that type of stuff is too stressful for me. That's why I put my confidence in Christ. I don't get up in the morning thinking that this may be the day that I'm going to get cut or they may extend my contract. I don't think about that stuff. I go out and live every day the best that I can. I can't control all of those things. So, if they were going to do this or that, that's not up to me. One thing that I'm trying to do is not worrying about stuff that you can't control. I think that living like that takes a lot of pressure off you and you see a lot of the good outcomes."

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