The 10 Best Moments of DeSean Jackson's Career in Philadelphia
It's over. The Philadelphia Eagles have finally released DeSean Jackson, ending the wide receiver's tenure with the team after six seasons. The veteran playmaker is now a free agent who is available to sign with any team in the NFL.
Whether or not releasing him was the right move by head coach Chip Kelly, the team has no choice but to move on and try to figure out a way to replace his production on the field. It won't be easy, but if anyone can do it, Kelly can. After all, he led the Eagles from the 29th-ranked scoring offense in 2012 to the fourth-ranked scoring offense in 2013.
With Jackson gone, Eagles fans have a lot of mixed emotions. It's just so hard to move on from such a dynamic playmaker—an offensive and special teams weapon who provided the team and fanbase with dozens of unforgettable moments over the last six years.
The following slides will highlight the best of the best by Jackson in Philadelphia, counting down from No. 10 to No. 1.
10. 2008: First NFL Game
The Eagles drafted DeSean Jackson in the second round of the 2008 draft, knowing that they had just grabbed one of the top offensive playmakers in the class. It certainly didn't take him long to make an impact on the field.
In his first game, the rookie provided two electrifying plays against the St. Louis Rams. He caught a 47-yard pass from Donovan McNabb on the second play and later returned a punt 60 yards.
Jackson finished the game with six catches for 106 yards and eight punt returns for 97 yards. The Eagles won 38-3. It was a terrific start to the DeSean Jackson era.
9. 2009: All-Around Dominance Against Washington
As a receiver, runner and returner, DeSean Jackson was at his all-time best in the 2009 season, particularly in a Week 6 contest against the Washington Redskins.
He scored on a 67-yard end-around in the first quarter and later caught a 57-yard strike from Donovan McNabb. He added 33 punt-return yards, finishing the game with 167 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns.
The Eagles won 27-17, and Jackson was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week.
8. 2010: Surviving Hit of the Year Against Atlanta Falcons
In Week 6 of the 2010 season, DeSean Jackson dominated the Atlanta Falcons, scoring on a 34-yard reception and a 31-yard end-around in the first quarter. The Eagles jumped out to a 14-0 lead, despite playing with backup quarterback Kevin Kolb.
Then Jackson ran a simple crossing pattern, where he took a hit by cornerback Dunta Robinson that should rank among the hardest hits in the NFL in the last decade.
Jackson was knocked unconscious by the hit and suffered a severe concussion. The NFL fined Robinson $50,000 for the hit.
But against all odds, Jackson managed to return from the hit after missing just two games. He played every game for the remainder of the season, finishing with 47 catches, 1,056 yards, nine touchdowns and yet another Pro Bowl selection.
7. 2010: First-Play Touchdown Against Washington on Monday Night Football
Like many great playmakers, DeSean Jackson saved his best moments for prime-time games or games against divisional opponents. The Eagles' 2010 contest against the Washington Redskins contained both.
On the first play from scrimmage, he caught a perfectly thrown deep pass from Michael Vick, high-stepping backward into the end zone for an 88-yard touchdown. The play was extra sweet because it came right over the top of safety LaRon Landry, who had gotten in a pregame scuffle with Jackson just a few minutes earlier.
The Eagles ended up recording one of the most lopsided victories in franchise history, winning 59-28 behind a six-touchdown performance from Vick.
6. 2010: 91-Yard Game-Winning Touchdown Against Dallas
Eagles at Cowboys. Fourth quarter. Tie game. The Eagles had ball on their own 9-yard line.
That's DeSean Jackson time.
Playing with an injured foot from earlier in the game, he caught a slant from Michael Vick and outran or outjuked five different Cowboys defenders en route to the end zone. When he reached the 1-yard line, he stopped completely, turned around, held the ball in the air with his right arm and fell backward into the end zone. He immediately bounced up and spiked the ball as hard as he could.
Jackson finished the day with a career-high 210 receiving yards on just four catches. His 91-yard catch-and-run proved to be the winning score, as the Eagles held on for a 27-20 victory.
5. 2009: Domination Against Giants on Monday Night Football
DeSean Jackson saved his best performances for the New York Giants. He turned in the single-best game of his career on Monday Night Football against his division rival in Week 14 of the 2009 season.
He caught six passes for 178 yards and a touchdown. He also returned two punts for 83 yards, including a 72-yard touchdown. The touchdown came on a deep pass from Donovan McNabb in the third quarter, just a play after the Eagles fell behind, 31-30.
The Eagles eventually won 45-38, taking another step toward the postseason push.
4. 2009: Bobbling Touchdown in NFC Championship Game
Trailing 24-6 in the third quarter of the NFC Championship Game against Kurt Warner and the Arizona Cardinals, Donovan McNabb and the Eagles mounted a furious comeback. Two touchdown catches by Brent Celek cut the deficit to 24-19 before McNabb unleashed a bomb to rookie DeSean Jackson.
Jackson, who was covered by star rookie Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, bobbled the ball four times before securing it against his facemask and walking backward into the end zone for a go-ahead 62-yard touchdown. The play gave the Eagles a 25-24 lead.
Had the Eagles managed to hold on for a win against the Cardinals, Jackson's bobbling touchdown would have ranked among the greatest individual plays in franchise history.
As it stands, however, the Eagles lost the game, and Jackson's incredible play is merely a footnote in his electrifying career.
3. 2012: Contract Extension
After a disastrous 2011 season of DeSean Jackson failing to produce both on and off the field, the Eagles gave into his contract demands. They rewarded the 25-year-old with a five-year deal worth $48.5 million. The deal included $15 million in guaranteed money.
As we all know, he played just two seasons under his new contract. But less than two years ago, everything seemed right in Philadelphia regarding Jackson and his future.
2. 2009: Pro Bowl at Two Different Positions
When you factor in his ability as both a wide receiver and punt returner, the 2009 season was the best of DeSean Jackson's career. In fact, he became the first player in the history of the NFL to earn a Pro Bowl selection at two different positions.
He caught 62 passes for 1,156 yards and nine touchdowns. He rushed 17 times for 104 yards and a touchdown. And he returned 29 punts for 441 yards and two touchdowns. In all, he accumulated 1,734 all-purpose yards and scored 12 touchdowns.
He also tied a single-season NFL record by scoring eight touchdowns of more than 50 yards.
1. 2010: Miracle at the New Meadowlands
This moment has to be No. 1 on the list of every Eagles fan. It's one of the signature moments in franchise history. It's probably the single best moment by the Eagles over the last decade.
Everybody knows what happened. The Eagles traveled to New York to play the Giants with first place in the NFC East on the line. Both teams had won nine of their first 13 games. The Giants took a 31-10 lead midway through the fourth quarter, but then the Eagles rallied, with Brent Celek, Michael Vick and Jeremy Maclin scoring touchdowns to tie the game with just about one minute remaining.
After a defensive stop, the Eagles were set to get the ball back with just 14 seconds on the clock. That's when DeSean Jackson provided the signature moment of his career, fumbling the punt by Matt Dodge, grabbing the loose ball and darting through 11 Giants defenders for the only walk-off punt return touchdown in NFL history.
The dramatic victory gave the Eagles sole possession of first place in the NFC East. They would end up clinching the division title.
Jackson's incredible play was eventually voted the single greatest play in NFL history by online readers. It's a play that will forever stand in Eagles lore, even as the team moves on without him.