Jack­son still a good team­mate de­spite re­quest

The Bradenton Herald - - Sports - BY RICK STROUD

DeSean Jack­son wasn’t giv­ing up any trade se­crets.

Speak­ing to the me­dia Wed­nes­day for the first time since a re­port two weeks ago that he re­quested the Bucs deal him to an­other team, the 31-yearold re­ceiver wouldn’t deny it hap­pened.

“What­ever them con­ver­sa­tions were, they were be­tween us,” Jack­son said when asked if he spoke to gen­eral man­ager Ja­son Licht to re­quest a trade. “It’s over and done with now, and I’m look­ing for­ward. We’ve got eight games left to con­tinue to try our best to get in the play­offs and win here.”

At 3-5 and hav­ing lost four of their past five games, the Bucs on Sun­day host Jack­son’s for­mer Wash­ing­ton team, which is 5-3 and lead­ing the NFC East.

This has to be par­tic­u­larly galling for Jack­son, who has watched the Bucs go 8-16 since join­ing them as a free agent be­fore last sea­son.

On the field, Jack­son’s de­cline has mir­rored that of his team’s. The Bucs opened this sea­son with con­sec­u­tive wins at New Or­leans and against the de­fend­ing Su­per Bowl cham­pion Ea­gles. Jack­son had more than 100 yards re­ceiv­ing in three of their first four games with Ryan Fitz­patrick at quar­ter­back.

But since then, Jack­son has av­er­aged 50 re­ceiv­ing yards over the past four games.

“He’s av­er­ag­ing 22point-some­thing (yards) per catch (22.4),” coach Dirk Koet­ter said. “Again, guys, the ob­ject of the game is to get one more point than the other team, how­ever you get there. The ob­ject of the game isn’t to get DeSean more catches.”

Koet­ter is right. The ob­ject of the game is to win, and that is pre­cisely why the Bucs did not want to suf­fer a trade deficit.

Jack­son is one of the top play­mak­ers on an of­fense that has ranked No. 1 in the NFL for most of the sea­son.

When the Oct. 30 trade dead­line ap­proached, the Bucs were fo­cused on get­ting a win over Carolina to get back to .500 and one game out of a pos­si­ble wild-card spot. Licht didn’t see the logic in los­ing the most ex­plo­sive play­ers on of­fense for a mid-round draft pick.

What Jack­son says he’s frus­trated about is that the Bucs look like they’re headed for an­other los­ing sea­son.

“It’s just know­ing what’s in this locker room, know­ing the play­ers we have all across the board, and know­ing how tal­ented it can be. It did show early on. That’s the frus­tra­tion,” he said.

BUTCH DILL AP

Re­ceiver DeSean Jack­son (11) doesn’t deny the re­port that he re­quested the Bucs deal him to an­other team.

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