Jun 302010

June 29 Philadelphia Daily News

 “Using his index finger, DeSean Jackson drew up a route. The football was his chalkboard and two wiry campers were his pupils. Coach Jackson knew this pump-and-go would get the corner to bite.

The quarterback and receiver lined up and connected for a deep, easy-does-it touchdown.

“We’re going to be burning DBs all day!” Jackson yelled, arms outstretched in elation, during his weeklong youth football camp that began yesterday at Moorestown Upper Elementary School with about 75 participants.

Jackson has been burning plenty of DBs during his first two seasons with the Eagles – something that would suggest he deserves a new contract.

“There has been no progress so far,” he said. “I’m looking forward to just working with them and hopefully making something happen.”

With 2 years remaining on his 4-year, $3.46 million rookie contract, he’s underpaid for a Pro Bowler. A fact on which both sides probably agree.

Problem is, base salaries are limited to 30 percent increases per year under the current collective bargaining agreement. Theoretically, the Eagles could appease Jackson with a huge signing bonus, but teams are reluctant to dole out guaranteed money.

Two seasons full of don’t-blink touchdowns of every flavor have elevated Jackson to elite status, to a figure on and off the field. He’s racing Shaquille O’Neal in a relay race taped for the ABC reality series “Shaq Vs.” along with Dwight Howard, Chris Johnson, Tyson Gay and Maurice Greene. He’s joining the NFL’s best players for an NBC “Sunday Night Football” commercial. He refused to leak any details, only assuring that “it will be really cool.”

This youth football camp was his idea all along. Back in February, Jackson called Bobby McRae, who has headed up football camps in five states through his program, Mentor Me Community Support. Jackson wanted to start a camp from scratch, wanted to make an everlasting imprint in the community. Throughout yesterday’s first day, parents approached McRae. Expect 400, 500, 600 kids, they told him.

 The reason is Jackson.

 “He understands the moment,” McRae said. “He understands the time is now and he wants to take advantage of the opportunity and do everything he can to give back.”

 With two giant Jackson posters hanging on the school building behind her, Gayle Jackson could only shake her head. Never did mom imagine her son being in the same room as Shaquille O’Neal – let alone starring in the future Hall of Famer’s reality show.”

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