The Redskins' explosive wide receiver reflects on fatherhood, hanging out with Snoop Dogg and his relationship with Jay Gruden.
Washington Redskins: How many tattoos do you have at this point in your career?
DeSean Jackson: It got to the point where I can't even count them anymore. There's too many to even count.
What was your first one?
My shoulder has a bulldog. It says "Too hungry not to eat." I was probably like 17.
I watched your "E:60" special again recently, which focuses a lot around your childhood and your father. What was it like being under his tutelage for so much of your life?
Really, it was just like a mentor and really a person that could push you and get everything out of what you wanted in life. Anytime you feel like you couldn't do it or you really had a long day, a tough day, it just gave me extra motivation to feel like I could go out there and do whatever it is I wanted to do.
Since he passed away, what kind of impact does he still have on you today?
It really triggers my mentality, my mindset to whatever it is you want in life, you've got to go out there and work hard for it. Nothing's going to be given to you. It's just one of those things growing up and not really having nothing and working to get what you want in life.
When he initially passed, was it hard to find that motivation?
It was tough. Really, I was kind of lost for some years just trying to figure out where it is I wanted to go, why it had to be me. I hurt for a long period of time, but just kind of praying and knowing he was in a better place and he wasn't struggling any more helped me move on. Spiritually, I still look at it like he's still here, just not physically.
As a father yourself now, how much do you want to replicate how your dad raised you? **
It's a thin line between. You want to push him hard, you still want to have him do something that he wants to do on his own. With me, I was just pushed to a limit where sometimes I was tired, sometimes I didn't want to do certain things, and then as a parent, you kind of understand what your dad wants out of you, what he wants to get out of you and things like that. I think I'll push him to the limit, too, but still want to be able to understand him, push him to what he wants to do as well.
Do you envision pushing DeSean Jr. towards sports?
I mean, hopefully he can carry those genes with him, and almost just like me, be born into it, not really have to force him to do it. Hopefully he takes ownership more at a young age to want to play, to want to be great. From there I can just put my two cents in and help him.
Your mom and sister and a lot of the women in your family have been a big part of your life even more recently. What have they provided you that your dad couldn't?
Schoolwork, helping me in the classroom, pushing that emphasis. My dad was more of a sports guy, so when it came down to school and stuff, my mom and sisters really helped me.
What would you say you learned from your BET reality show?
It was just a phase that I was going through. It was really to just show a different side to my family and to what people thought about me. It's not really much I learned about it, just more letting people get an open look, an open dial onto how my family was and how we worked hard for whatever we wanted.
Did you like having the camera follow you everywhere?
It was cool. Like I said, it was just something to do at that time. Looking back at it, I probably wouldn't do it again. But, maybe when my career is over and done with that might be another phase of my life.
In terms of growing up in California, what kind of impact do you think that made on your football career?
I think the mentality of growing up in Cali kind of, on an everyday basis, just made me physically and mentally prepared for life. It was a tough area that I grew up in. I kind of just triggered my mindset, how I live my life going forward, to be able to be successful in life.
When did your name and likeness start to be well-known in the area?
When I was in Pop-Warner I was always one of the best on my team. Going to high school, playing at Long Beach Poly, one of the best high schools in all of the nation, definitely getting that success and playing at an early age around good guys, getting scholarships to USC, that kind of triggered me to go out there and say I wanted to do the same thing. I wanted to be a top high school recruit, top draft pick, and so I just followed the steps.
Did it ever get too overwhelming for you as you made the decision to go to Cal?
No, it didn't. It was just one of those things where it prepared for me where I wanted to be in life. It never was too overwhelming.
Who's the biggest celebrity in your phone right now?
A lot of them. I don't even know. Probably Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg.
Did you collaborate with him for your record label?
Yeah he went to Long Beach Poly, too, he's from Long Beach, so we've got a great relationship. He's like an uncle to me. I talk to him on a daily basis.
He's like an uncle to you?
We call him Uncle Snoop. I mean, everybody calls him Uncle Snoop. But I really have a great relationship with him.
Do you have a story about collaborating with him?
We did a song together about five, six years ago. Hanging out with him in the offseason, he loves the kids. He's got an organization where he has a youth football team. Whenever we're together we always have a good time.
Was he mad when you went to Cal and not USC?
He wasn't really too mad, but you know, he supported whatever I wanted to do. We always talked about that, but he's not really mad about that.
When you got drafted by the Eagles and moved to Philadelphia, was it a tough switch going to the east coast?
It was a little different, but I really didn't have no choice. Drafted in the second round, going out there, living my dream out. The weather was the only thing, kind of cold and stuff, but I adjusted to it and I was blessed to be in the NFL.
Can you tell a difference between Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.?
I really don't see a big difference. I always just feel like I'm here to work. I feel both cities are good cities. I had a great time in Philly, now that I'm in D.C. I feel that I have a great time here. I have a lot of support in the city, so I just feel like it's a blessing to be living out my dream. That's really the moral of the story is just to continue to count blessings and to be playing a sport that you love to do since you were a little kid and now you have an opportunity to play on a higher level.
You and Jay Gruden have unique relationship it seems. What's different about him than other coaches you've played under?
He's just understanding. He works with his guys, and he takes care of his guys, too. It's just good to have a relationship with a coach like that's not one of those coaches who's just overly strict and don't allow you to be who you are. He does a good job of letting his players be who they are.
How important is that for you?
Yeah, as a coach who definitely understands his players, build relationships individually with his players, definitely important.
With the amount of receiving threats the offense has this year, has it been harder to give up some receptions and targets knowing Kirk has so many options?**
Really, the ideal situation for a receiver is to go out and catch as many balls, have as many yards, and score as many touchdowns, but sometimes it doesn't pan out to be that way. As a professional, and as a guy who's had a lot of success in this league, I feel like you've got to deal with that. Just go out and do your job and get open and do things in that nature, everything is going to be what it's going to be.
Are you able to look at the two pass interference penalties against the Browns as positive plays, even though you didn't acquire any stats from them?
It's alright. We scored on those drives. I would rather have the catch than the pass interference. But you've got to take it for what it's worth.
Did you ever consider sticking with baseball in high school instead of focusing on football?
I thought about it, but my love for the game was more football. I'm happy where I'm at.
When you wore the caution tape cleats two weeks ago and raised your fist during the National Anthem the previous week, how long had you thought about that stuff and did you discuss it with teammates?
We really had a plan about what it is that we wanted to get across. We didn't want people to feel we were being disrespectful or arrogant to anyone. As far as our culture and our society we just feel like it's the time for that. We just wanted to show support to the victims that lost their lives, the kids, as a culture we want to see a difference, a change, and hopefully guys can come together and help the change the thinking on these young kids killing each other and these cops killing these kids or adults, whatever it is.
Is there anyone you think about in particular during these statements?
Just overall, after a while you get tired of seeing hashtags or RIPs to certain people. It comes to point in time where enough is enough.