Jackson looks like one of the receivers who lasts

by Gary Shelton on August 6, 2017 · 0 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

DeSean Jackson has shown Bucs' fast he still has his speed./CARMEN MANDATO

DeSean Jackson has shown Bucs' fans he still has his speed./CARMEN MANDATO

Sunday, 3 a.m.

The legs. The legs are still 18.

Jackson had an impressive day Saturday./CARMEN MADATO

Jackson had an impressive day Saturday./CARMEN MADATO

Elsewhere on the frame of DeSean Jackson, there is age. He is 30 now, the age some receivers are when they turn 50. The legs slow and the hands ache and the middle no longer makes sense to travel through. The hamstrings pop like guitar strings, and the knees hurt and safeties keep slamming into their helmets.

But Jackson? He still seems young. He can still run.

“You just try to look at it like you’re a young guy, go out there and have fun,” Jackson said. “You don’t really get too many guys to make it that far, so it’s just a blessing to be out here working hard, teaching these young guys and just trying to stay healthy, but at the same time work hard.

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Jackson should give Winston another option besides Evans./CARMEN MADATO

Jackson should give Winston another option besides Evans./CARMEN MADATO

Just make plays, keep doing what you do.”

Jackson can still make plays. Consider this: If you count receptions, he was only 66th in the NFL last year. But he still had more than 1,000 yards, because his 17.9-yard average was first in the league for players with 40 catches or more (he had 56).

The NFL doesn't have a lot of patience for disappointments at the wide receiver position. You're good, or you're gone.

True, Jackson will turn 31 during the season. It is a brutal age for receivers with the Bucs.

Keyshawn Johnson was 31 when he pouted his way from the Bucs in his flip-flops. Bert Emanual was done at 31. Alvin Harper retired at 29, then came back for two games at

32. Lawrence Dawsey started his last game at 31. Michael Clayton caught his last pass at 27 here. Antonio Bryant was 28.

But Jackson?

Vernon Hargreaves has been impressed with Jackson's speed./CARMEN MANDATO

Vernon Hargreaves has been impressed with Jackson's speed./CARMEN MANDATO

The Bucs are still looking for him to find the end zone.

“I’m going to save my plays for the regular season when it counts,” Jackson said. “But, obviously preseason is something we have to go through. I’m sure we’ll get some reps, get some plays in there. Not try to show too much because we’re expecting a big year

this year, come out and light it up September 10th. So as far as preseason, it will definitely be good to get out there and get some play timing down. Getting everything we’ve been working on out versus somebody else.”

For Jackson, the theory is a pretty good one. Mike Evans remains the go-to receiver for the Bucs, but Jackson should be a receiver who is hard to ignore. Blink, and Jackson can go the distance.

Jackson had a good day for the Bucs on Saturday. It was a preview of what he can do.

The Bucs Charles Sims remains a good receiver./CARMEN MANDATO

The Bucs Charles Sims remains a good receiver./CARMEN MANDATO

"DeSean had a great day,” Bucs' coach Dirk Koetter said. “He got off to a fast start. You

know, one of his best plays, I don't even know (if it was noticed), because it was over there on the sideline in that last period. He caught that quick out, broke that tackle and he was gone. So, big day for DeSean. Fun to see."

If there is a player that you would like to see Jackson emulate, it's probably former Bucs' star Joey Galloway. No, Galloway didn't care for the middle, either. But Galloway played with the Bucs until he was 37, and played parts of two seasons afterward, and he still had his speed. Critics said Galloway was a one-trick pony, but it was a pretty good trick. He averaged 17.8 yards per catch when he was 36.

So, yeah, with the excellent receivers, it happens. Jerry Rice played until he was 42. Tim Brown played until he was 38. Terrell Owens was 37. James Lofton was the same age.

And so Jackson keeps running. His legs keep pumping.

Why not? He's got more first downs to make before he goes.

Godwin has made an impression as a rookie./CARMEN MANDATO

Godwin has made an impression as a rookie./CARMEN MANDATO

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