DeSean Jackson Documentary Reveals Much

DeSean Jackson‘s relationship with Andy Reid and the Eagles got off on the wrong foot.

The receiver and his family were already in the midst of a stressful day. Their draft party back in April of 2008 turned tense as the projected first-rounder slipped and slipped…until finally he was taken 49th by the Eagles. The celebration that ensued was quickly dampened following Jackson’s call with his new head coach.

“Hey, I just want to say one thing,” said Jackson, calling together his inner circle. “I was on the phone with Andy Reid. He said, ‘I don’t want your family to be a problem. I don’t want to deal with your dad.’ He said some bad things. I just wanted to let you know. That’s kind of messed up, though.”

That is one of the many nuggets stored in a fascinating 104-minute documentary titled “DeSean Jackson, The Making Of A Father’s Dream” which chronicles Jackson’s journey from Pop Warner to the pros. His older brother, Byron Jackson, began filming DeSean when he was about nine years old, and kept the camera rolling for more than 18 years.

Not a second of that time went by when DeSean wasn’t being groomed for the NFL.

DeSean’s father, the late Bill Jackson, was determined to have his sons make it to the pros. Byron briefly achieved that goal, spending two years on the Chiefs’ practice squad, but was eventually cut. He bounced around to the Canadian and World League but was ready to move onto a career in film-making. Bill was not ready for the ride to end. Wills collided, there was an incident, and the two didn’t speak for two years.

DeSean’s undeniable ability helped bring them back together, and they joined forces with several of Byron’s good friends — men that also came just shy of athletic excellence — to create a professional athlete. They set up a blueprint and gave him a strict training regimen. Had him working with a speed coach before he was even in high school.

Bill Jackson tells a story in the film about how he would even get his sister’s poodle into the training process. He used to tie a tennis ball to a rope, and  that rope around DeSean’s waist. Every time the dog got the tennis ball, DeSean had to give him 15 pushups.

“I never gave him time off. People used to say, ‘Why are you doing him like that. You’re trying to kill him.’ Because he had so much energy, he would be running the streets.”

With all that manpower dedicated to a common goal, DeSean was able to maximize the immense amount of natural talent that just oozed out of him. That singular focus of developing an NFL player also created some problems. Cal head coach Jeff Tedford worried that team goals were taking a back seat to the individual pursuit of making it to the show. And Bill Jackson was so determined to make that dream a reality, that he at times took his advocacy for his son’s cause too far.

“While I understood what Bill’s motives were he didn’t always go about it the right way,” said Tedford. “As far as alienating people or really being loud outside of the locker room and things like that. If DeSean only caught a couple balls in the game, he wanted him to catch 10. He was driven for DeSean to be successful.”

Bill could be a handful (Reid obviously had heard as much) but it’s clear that it came from a good place. And ultimately, his plan worked.

He watched from a hospital bed as the Eagles beat the Giants in the Divisional Round to advance to the NFC Championship in DeSean’s rookie year. His son had four grabs for 81 yards in that game. Earlier that day, Bill had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. That was January 11, 2009. He passed away May 14 of that year.

The next season DeSean broke out, posting over 1,100 receiving yards and racking up 12 touchdowns in all. There is a scene in the film where Byron and DeSean are waiting nervously to get word on whether he had been selected to the Pro Bowl. The call came from Reid. This time around, the coach’s words sent Jackson barreling down the steps and into his brother’s arms.

After the initial celebration, DeSean turns to the camera and says, “Pops man, I love you. You knew.”

The Pro Bowl was played on what would have been Bill’s 65th birthday. DeSean led the NFC with 101 yards and two touchdowns.

“At the end of the day,” said Byron, “my dad only wanted what was best for DeSean and all of his kids.”

The documentary is being released right around Father’s Day. It will be available on iN Demand beginning on June 7.

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  • Robin Wallace

    In the end all that matter is his father wanted what was best for all his children. It doesn’t get any better than that.

  • Jack Waggoner

    For Andy to say that was understandable, and for Desean to feel the way he did was also understandable.

    I think to understand where Andy was coming from, it’s hardly the first time parents have tried to inject themselves into situations where they try to control the coaches. First one that comes to mind is Eric Lindros. Andy was making a preemptive strike against such a challenge. To Desean, that was unnecessary and disrespectful.

    • Dutch

      That’s exactly what that phone call was, a preemtive strike and rather offensive and disrespectful to DeSean’s Family

      Any man that pretends that message to him, through his Kid, isn’t disrespectful is pretty spineless and, to not correct or confront that situation is nothing more than cowering in fear and intimidation.

      • bsn

        I’m pretty sure Andy wouldn’t have had a problem telling his dad that face to face. And seeing as how Desean wasn’t a child anymore, it’s completely acceptable to be told straight up from day one that Andy wasn’t gonna be taking anything from his dad.

  • Myke Lowery

    Wish pops would tell him to drop the rap career

    • aub32

      Why?? Who is he hurting?? Many players have other endeavors, why is him having a rap career so bad. It’s his money, and it’s what he likes doing.

  • Sensei

    While understandable the situation could have been brought up in a much better way than ruining the best moment of someone’s life by bringing up something that was more than likely not going to be a problem

  • Dutch

    Telling dialogue here, I can see there are many guys here who stand behind their wives when it comes to taking the mantle for their family. I’m pretty sure there aren’t to many of you from South Philly or many places within the City of Phila where you have to sometimes fight to keep your respect.

    Looks like many of you are willing to have people say most anything to you and your kids even those things that are over board and disrespectful .

    A lot has changed in Philly since I left.

    • theycallmerob

      Please don’t ever come back.

      • frogeeman33

        you are 1ooo%correct

    • bsn

      I couldn’t care less what someone has to say to me or a loved one. Words are words. And quite honestly, if its someone dumb enough to say stupid things, it’s probably a bunch of second grade vocabulary anyhow. It’s honestly more “manly” to be able to have proper discipline and control so that you don’t put yourself in a bad situation. I beat someone up and go to jail for being rude; how does that help my family or loved ones in anyway? I for one don’t need to fight to “keep my respect” because my respect doesn’t come from other people. I don’t care if I have someone’s respect or not because at the end of the day they probably don’t mean anything to me anyways.

    • Ig_l

      Yep. Violence is the answer. Glad you left.

      • frogeeman33

        ty great quote

  • Craig

    I think it’s crazy that a father projects his own dream onto his son to this extreme…..Sure it worked out, but it could have worked out just as well if he concentrated on making his son a more well rounded individual. This is no different than Todd Marinovich’s father….

    • Rahkem

      i have to agree, but this is all too common , my approach would be to let my son explore different things at least until high school, but if he came to me and told me “this is what i want to do”. I wouldnt mind going all out and pushing him as long as i know its his dream and not mine

  • Beavis

    Cant wait to watch, been hearing about for a long time. I wanted the eagles to draft desean sooooo bad that year, i was soooo pissed he we didnt stay put and draft him in the 1st round, didnt think we had a bchance at him in the 2nd, thank god the rams drafted donnie avery!!! lol

  • PaoliBulldog

    What a shame that DJax grew up fulfilling his father’s ambitions, not his own.

    • GvilleEagleFan

      As someone who has looked up to and respected his father his entire life, that is nothing to be ashamed of as long as the man is worthy of the respect. Someone willing to go so far to ensure his son’s financial well-being far beyond anything he could of achieved obviously is worthy of that respect.

  • thefadd

    oddly enough, the D-Jax – AR dynamic is emblematic of the whole second half of the AR era.

  • Scott J

    If Reid had a problem with the Jackson family then he shouldn’t have drafted DeSean.

  • eaglepete

    all this fake outrage over some comments on andy is laughable. Cant believe the one that started that thread was deleted. It really wasnt that terrible, maybe tasteless but it did start a conversation and it is relevant all things considered. Get over yourselves.

  • Janet Pina

    I tease by son by calling him “joe Jackson” because of the time and effort he puts into his 11year-old son’s basketball career. But in the long run, I know what he is doing is for his son’s future successes. There is really a time for everything, and draft night was not the right time. Maybe Andy should have paid a little more attention to his own sons, and ensured their futures.

  • Token

    Every time I want to get really excited about football this year I remember he is still here.

    I would rather have Reid as coach for one more year rather than watch Vick one more year. And thats saying something because I really wanted Reid gone years ago.

  • Token

    Nope. But ive seen enough of him to get the picture.

  • Mr. Wu

    Yeah for real. Judging from a distance is always easy and often ignorant.

  • jabostick

    For every DeSean or Tiger Woods success story of an overly-involved father, I’d bet that there are hundreds where a kid gets alienated or feels like a disappointment to his father, or spends time that could be otherwise used studying or pursuing other activities they’re better suited to.

    And for every father that is rightfully nurturing natural athletic ability or their kids interests, I bet there are hundreds that are just living out their own failed dreams in spite of their kids’ interest.

  • aub32

    This is really tasteless, and I hpe it gets deleted soon.

  • Bdawkbdawk

    Seeing as the other commenter who responded to your ignorant and insensitive comment was booted because of some colorful language, I will gladly lend a hand. Your comment is a disgrace. A tastless cheapshots. It is unworthy of this forum, and unworthy of Andy Reid.

  • Dutch

    Touche’ sir. A man should not have an opinion on how another man manages his family and raises his boys to become productive citizens utilizing their god given talents.

    A telling passage in the article was Bill saying, Desean had a lot of energy and had Bill not taken the course he took Desean down, Desean may have used that energy in the streets.

    That passage justifies any move a Father took to keep his son off the books of the State or County Prison System, or worse yet the morgue.

    If you have kids, you’ll do anything necessary to keep them from tragic ends.

  • theycallmerob

    Something about stones, and glass houses, and you being a disgrace for judging another man’s parenting. I hope Andy finds you and sits on you.

  • G

    Bill wasn’t a head coach of an NFL team who would put 70+ hours a week into making the Eagles franchise a very respectable franchise for a decade, for us fans.

  • JofreyRice

    Yeah, I was just watching the ESPN film “Year of the QB”, about Todd Marinovich. His father was a maniac; made his son’s life hell–all to serve his vision of molding the ultimate QB.

    I guess Tiger’s a “success story”. He’s certainly reached the pinnacle of his sport, and has fantastic wealth as a side-benefit, but all his crazy sexploits certainly makes it seem he has some demons. I guess plenty of folks have pretty serious demons without all the success that Woods has enjoyed.

  • theycallmerob

    Yes, I’m sure the jails are full of young men who would not be there, had their fathers done just a little more.

    Oh wait. My bad. I almost fell for your ignorance that time.

  • Dutch

    It’s that what Andy did in the initial phone call to DeSean, offending his up bringing by his father.

  • theycallmerob

    so, your justification is “well Andy did it too”? sad.

  • Dutch

    No, I stated my intend and justification rather clearly.

    Andy, was tackless in relaying that message to DeSean in regards to how his father put the time in to see his son raise successfully.

    If you’re married and have kids, ask your wife the limitation she has on ensuring their success as adults.

    I have three outstanding kids, and you couldn’t tell me what Andy told DeSean to my face as their Father.
    Especially when you’ve raised felons and drug addicts.

  • Dutch

    Please, lets not fall into ignorance. I have to much respect for the authors of the forum.

    You feel free to mask Andy offending a parent on how he involved himself in his childs affairs, and if you’re that comfortable with his example raise your child in Andy Reid like fashion if it suits you well.

  • theycallmerob

    Stop hiding behind BS. I’m not talking about, nor condoning, what Andy said in that phone call to Desean. I was commenting on your ignorant correlation between the inferences drawn from said call to the ability of Andy to parent based on his son’s actions.

    Menaces to the Del. valley hiding behind a Main Line address? That’s about as bigoted and ignorant of an ad hominem attack I’ve seen on this board. And I could care less what you opine of your own child-raising abilities.

  • theycallmerob

    To pretend you know anything of Andy’s parenting skills based on the news-worthy actions of his sons is beyond ridiculous. I sure hope this is just another ruse of yours to raise the collective blood pressure of this community. Otherwise, you’re just a ***

  • nicksaenz1

    Poor grammar and lack of spelling ability make said opining worse to read.

  • G

    Very well said.. disrespectful. When Andy said I don’t want to deal with your father, he wasn’t referring in any way to the way he is parented lol. He was simply referring to not wanting to have Deseans father (and brother) distracting him and his coaching, some people on this forum took this way out of context.
    Andy spends 70+ hours a week building up this franchise and this program to a level where us eagle fans have had a decade of consistent success (And yes, I’m well aware that success did not include THE BIG ONE). “fans” have the nerve to come on this board and post tasteless comments like that when they have no idea the circumstances around his personal life, just what they can see from the outside.

  • nicksaenz1

    Something tells me the countless dollars spent on counseling, rehab, visiting with teachers, bringing them around the team for positive influences and trying to keep them away from the drug addiction which allows you to so broadly label his boys as thugs and street trash, etc, etc, isn’t the definition of a parent condoning such behavior or life choices. Stop talking, dude.

  • GEagle

    Are you talking to yourself Token? Lol JK

  • JofreyRice

    Street Trash Thug is fun, but I thought they really improved the gameplay with Street Trash Thug 2

  • Capt. Undapants

    Sir, judging another man’s child rearing when you don’t know the background, details, etc. is just wrong.

    And you shouldn’t use “woman” as an insult Mr. “Parent of the Year.”

  • theycallmerob

    Thank you for continuing to make my point. I’ll make sure to print your comments and use it with my male students. We’ve just been talking about these pretend grown ups walking around calling themselves “men”. I’ll pray for your kids.

  • nicksaenz1

    Right, he brought one or both sons in there thinking that after having gone through rehab that the behavior was going to continue and one would even die there; not to provide a positive environment that they could make a life out of if they kept themselves clean. That’s what I’m defending. The positive thoughts and intentions of a father who tried tirelessly and endlessly to provide opportunities for his sons to get better, who just so happens to have been the coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.

    And please stop with mentioning muscle growth drugs. You actually say that with the naivete of a person who thinks that he must have been the first and only person to push those around the Eagles or any other team. It insults the BALCOs of the world.

  • Dutch

    Don’t know what Andy’s goal was, but the results were a catastrophe.

  • bsn

    The hell he is. He’s running a multi-million dollar team and is about to be paying someone a lot of money. He had every right to tell Desean that his father better not be a problem because he clearly was.

  • chloroformdreams

    I find it hard to believe that you’re still standing behind your horrid statements. Not for nothing but anyone with the slightest criminological background (I’ll volunteer) can tell you that parenting is an important factor in a child’s behavior but far from the only one. Lest we not forget that there are other significant influences that cause someone to act in a certain way, many times IN SPITE of good parenting.

    Oftentimes, having a bit of financial backing from an extremely hard working and successful parent (surely you will not doubt that AR was both of these) may lead one to stray in the event that said hardworking parent doesn’t have all the time in the world to spend with his or her children (as Andy clearly could not have given the profession, not here to judge mom as your focus was on Andy). This leads to somewhat of an inverse correlation when it comes parenting and crime.

    But since you seem to be one for cheap shots, I’ll respond in kind. How old are your kids? Doubtless, they still have PLENTY of time to become colossal dutchbags like they’re father. Even scummy drug addict dutchbags (given they’re father’s completely inane logic on the subject). Based on the fact that you flame here constantly I’m going to assume that you are neither largely successful nor particularly hard working (70+ hour weeks being my cutoff). Given what you lack in empathy and an overall sense of genuine human decency I’m going to give your offspring a 35% shot of being decent human beings.

    Oh and Andy Reid has three good kids who nobody ever ***** talks about, and the one is clean now.

  • Rahkem

    What has he done that makes you hate him so much ? idk maybe its just me ,, but i find it extremely difficult to hate people ive never met unless theyre a murderer or rapist or something egregious like that. Desean to me just seems like a young guy with alot of confidence who worked EXTREMELY hard and was pushed to become what he is. At times he may seem kind of entitled but i would feel that way too if i was going hard since elementary school with 1 goal in mind the entire time.