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.