By FRANK WARD
Let’s face it, the national media has done Philly sports fans no favors in helping to form our reputation and create our image. While nobody will dispute that we expect the best from anyone who dares accept the challenge of donning one of our teams’ jerseys, we’re also very fair.
Some athletes can handle it and seem to thrive in Philly. Allen Iverson, Charles Barkley and Jimmy Rollins come to mind. Others can’t fathom playing in the City of Brotherly Love (see Rolen, Scott).
In his two seasons here, DeSean Jackson has enjoyed a love affair with the 65,000 who pack Lincoln Financial Field and the hundreds of thousands who watch from the local watering hole or their living rooms. Of course, making the Pro Bowl will get you in the fans’ good graces. Hard work, however, is something everyone has to notice.
Jackson isn’t the biggest guy on the field. In fact, at 5-10 and 175 pounds, Jackson is the NFL’s version of Allen Iverson. He’s not scared to go across the middle with the big boys and take his hits. He’ll do what’s needed to win football games.
When he arrived in Philly after being drafted, he knew of Philly’s reputation.
“I had always heard Philly was a hard-nosed, blue collar town,” Jackson told DailyPhiladelphian.com this week. “I’ve never had a negative experience. I hear what they say to some of the guys on other teams and I’m glad I’m on their side.”
Jackson learned early on how Philly was a football town.
“When I first got drafted to be an Eagle, I knew of the fans’ reputation,” he said. “When I first got off the plane at the airport, the cameras were there filming me and the fans were all excited. I knew they were passionate and behind the Eagles.”
As far as whether or not the passion can go too far sometimes, Jackson doesn’t see it like that.
“I like their passion,” the Pro Bowler said. “They do not accept not winning and that’s what I was taught to believe in life.”
Jackson said failure is not an option and he always works hard to get better and be successful. The bottom line is that he gets us, understands us and accepts us. If only every athlete could do the same.