Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson spoke Monday for the first time since missing a team meeting on Saturday and being benched against Arizona as a result, admitting that he missed the meeting but failing to discuss whether he did so to send a message to the team.
The official explanation for Jackson's absence from the meeting was that he overslept, but when asked whether he was actually making a statement about his unsettled contract, Jackson declined to answer the question directly.
"I missed the meeting and my punishment was my punishment, and I'm not going to sit here and ask any other questions or answer any other questions," Jackson said. He said the contract has not affected his play, though, and vowed to just "handle my business."
Jackson said that he and Andy Reid "talked as men," and that he understood the coach had to take action "for the team's sake."
Jackson is making roughly $600,000 on his rookie deal this season, despite a career that already includes two Pro Bowl berths, and has been unsettled by the lack of progress regarding a possible contract extension.
"I think everybody knows the contract situation, and as a human being there's just things you have to go through in life," Jackson said. "I'm just ready to continue and go forward. . . .
"I can admit to some things probably that I've done that I need to better," he added.
Jackson had a meeting with teammates and coaches, during which he admitted that it has been "hard for me to come to work and be happy just because of everything that happened."
"I kind of just explained to them the things I've been going through, me not being myself, it being hard for me to come to work and be happy just because of everything that happened," Jackson told reporters in his first comments since being benched Sunday for missing a team meeting Saturday. "I addressed it as a professional, as a man, and I know what I need to do to continue to better myself and put me in the best position possible for my career."
Outsiders, he said, "don't know what I'm going through. I'm the one that has to come to work, I'm the one that has to be here. Everybody can have their opinion and say whatever, but I'm the one that's dealing with it."
Coach Andy Reid said Jackson will return to his starting role Sunday against the New York Giants.