All each were expected to be among the best in the league at their position. The biggest difference between their performance in 2011, though, was that although Vick and Asomugha struggled through disappointing seasons, they at least tried their hardest all year.
The same can’t be said for DeSean Jackson. Not even close.
The problems began for Jackson when he held out at the beginning of training camp for 19 days due to a contract dispute. Jackson was entering his fourth season in the league and was scheduled to make just $600,000 n 2011, obviously not a lot of money for one of the top offensive playmakers in the NFL for his first three seasons.
The speculation was that Jackson was especially scared because of a big hit he had taken by Atlanta Falcons defensive back Dunta Robinson in the sixth game in 2010, a hit that knocked him unconscious and caused him to miss a couple of weeks of football. Jackson, who weighs about 175 pounds, is a single hit away from potentially seeing his NFL career end, so he wanted to earn his money in case that devastating injury did end up happening.
He ended his holdout by reporting to training camp on August 8th, just one day before he would have forfeited a year of service toward free agency. He faced fines of $30,000 per day for his absence but the Eagles chose not to charge him (if they had, he would have lost basically his entire 2011 salary).
When the season began, Jackson was his usual inconsistent self. He’d go over 100 yards one week, under 30 the next two, and then over 170 the following week.
The low point came when he was suspended by the Eagles for the week 10 game against the Arizona Cardinals after oversleeping for a mandatory special teams meeting the day before the game. Jackson claimed that his alarm clock didn’t go off, but not a single person believed him.
The Eagles lost that game, and I still blame Jackson for being the reason that the Eagles lost 21-17.
The following week, Jackson had a 51-yard catch negated for a taunting penalty, which also resulted in a $10,000 fine, but the Eagles managed to beat the Giants 17-10.
And the following week against Seattle, he was shown on the sideline clearly ignoring quarterback Vince Young, who was attempting to talk to him.
Everyone thought Jackson would be suspended for the remainder of the season, but he played all four games to end the year with just 961 receiving yards and only four touchdowns. He also didn’t return a punt return for a touchdown, the first year he failed to so do.
The speculation was that Jackson wouldn’t return to the Eagles in 2012, but he signed the franchise tag on March 1st and was given a five-year, $51 million contract extension on March 14th, keeping him in Philadelphia through the 2016 season. He also issued an “apology” for his actions during the 2011 season.