The Philadelphia Eagles’ offense has lacked a deep threat at wide receiver since DeSean Jackson was released in 2014.
Now Jackson’s back to fill the void.
The Eagles officially acquired Jackson in a trade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesday, then signed him to a three-year contract extension through 2021 on Thursday.
“I’m excited about coming (back) and finishing off what I started,” Jackson told the team’s website Thursday. “I know this team has gotten used to winning a lot of games, and I’m here to help that. That’s my role.”
Jackson spent his first six NFL seasons with the Eagles after arriving as a second-round draft pick in 2008.
He averaged 17.2 yards per catch in that stint with 356 receptions for 6,117 yards and 32 touchdowns. There were also four punt returns for touchdowns, including an electrifying, game-ending TD against the New York Giants on Dec. 19, 2010, that completed a 28-point comeback.
He had his best season in 2013, registering 82 receptions for 1,332 yards and nine TDs. But it wasn’t enough to impress then-coach Chip Kelly, whose first move upon gaining control of player personnel was releasing him prior to the 2014 season.
Unsubstantiated rumors about gang activity appeared at that time.
He returns as an older, more mature player — he has a fiance and three children — but still has the kind of speed that strikes fear into opposing secondaries.
“I am a veteran guy now, man,” Jackson said. “I see things a little differently. When I was here the last time, I was so young. I had to go through what I went through in my life and in my career to be able to move forward.
“I look at it like, when you walk you take a step forward. You can’t go backward in life. You can learn from everything you go through, and it makes you a man. I had to become a man fast in this world, especially having kids and having a family.”
According to the Eagles, Jackson has produced the most 60-plus-yard receiving TDs (24) in NFL history. He also ranks second in 50-plus yard receiving TDs (29), trailing only Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (36).
Last season, with Tampa Bay, he led the NFL with 18.9 yards per reception.
He joins an offense that already features talented receivers in wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor, plus tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert.
But none of those players can sprint past defensive backs like Jackson.
“I’m just ready to get back and add to what they already have,” Jackson said.
“But I’m just looking forward to winning. I’m here, and I’m going to make the most of this opportunity. I feel like we’ve got great things ahead for the Philadelphia Eagles and I’m excited to help.”