Vincent Jackson Has No Regrets About Last Year’s Contract Holdout, Wants To Be Remembered As A Player Who Was A “Team” Guy
It was a rollercoaster season for Chargers wide-out Vincent Jackson to say the very least last year. Jackson found himself in a very unfavorable situation by seeing the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement expire last year at the same time he was set to become a free agent. Jackson had to become a restricted free agent for an additional year because of the uncapped year, causing San Diego to put down a one-year, $3.2 million dollar tender on the former Northern Colorado wideout. Jackson wanted a long-term deal and decided to hold out of training camp last year enraging A.J. Smith.
Putting all the other contract jargon aside, Jackson decided to finally end his hold out and sign a one-year tender on October 29th of 2010. He ended up playing in 5 games last year pulling in 14 receptions while compiling 248 yards receiving and 3 touchdown catches. Jackson’s contract holdout would end up being an essential argument during the collective bargaining sessions of the NFL lockout this off-season. V.J. would like to put the past behind him this season and hone in on being the best wide receiver he can be for the Chargers. He claims that the perception of being a high paid, greedy, professional athlete is not who he is and that his character is composed of putting it all out on the line. It’s safe to say regardless of public persona, Jackson is an immensely talented wideout who will be playing with a chip on his shoulder this season and that’s a good thing for Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers.
Vincent Jackson joined XX Sports Radio in San Diego with Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton to discuss how difficult last season was for him with the contract holdout, how he responds to critics who are in favor of his holdout and who weren’t in favor of his holdout, being bothered by people who still want to hammer him for the mistakes he made last season and why he didn’t have a clause put into his new contract to exclude the San Diego Chargers from franchise tagging him again.
Emotionally last year how hard was it to be out for such an extended period?
“It was tough just because of course I’m still into the game and I’m watching these guys go through some tough times, but they were doing well at some points as well. I just wanted to be here more than anything. I wanted to be playing with them, but I knew I had to do what is best for me as far as my career goes, so no regrets about it. I just need to continue to work hard and train and be ready when it was my time to come back here and play for this team. I wanted to contribute and do the best that I could and that’s the way I finished the year.”
How do you respond to the critics and to the people that said you got a bad deal?
“It is what it is. I understand the nature of this business and nothing is personal, but I am definitely not a greedy guy. I’ve never been one to say I need to be the highest paid receiver. I’ve never asked for anything more than what the next guy next to me is making, more than that we have a great team here and we have something special. I have been here with Philip [Rivers] and we have been starting together for about 5 years and I think we can do some great things, so the hardest thing about it is the fact that we have such a talented team. We have some good coaches and we can win this thing if we get everybody in here and that is my mindset. I want to be a part of something great. I want to be remembered as a player who was a team guy, who was out there laying it on the line for his teammates and that’s what this game is about.”
Does it bother you that there are a segment of people who want to bring up the mistakes you made last year still?
“It doesn’t bother me anymore. History is history. For some reason people want to keep bringing that up they can. I don’t think anyone is talking about what they did four or five years ago, but in this position with this lifestyle and being in a position of getting so much attention sometimes that stuff comes up, so I think I do a lot more positive than the mistakes I made. I do a lot of stuff in this community and back home in Colorado as well. I’m trying to leave my legacy here on a positive note and do a lot more with youth with the homeless in this community. Obviously it was done in the past. It’s not my character. I don’t think I have ever had any character issues here. If I was really one of those guys that was a problem in the locker-room or a problem on the field or off the field how hard would it be to trade to me? They could of gotten rid of me a long time ago, but obviously I think people in this building know that yes I made mistakes, but I am not that character of a person. That’s why I am still here.”
I’ve said this before, but why didn’t you have a clause put in your contract that you couldn’t be franchise tagged again? Why didn’t you take that road? Or did you take that road and I don’t know about it?
“No we didn’t. When we joined…if you are speaking about this year…the lawsuit that was going on and the antitrust things… we joined that as a group me and Logan [Mankins] as well. I was under the impression it was a group thing. We were doing something that was for the best of the NFL, what is best for future players. Obviously me and Logan were thrown in a situation that is very rare. We just happened to be coming in the same year and have 5-year contracts and there happened to be an uncapped year, so we were restricted. Is it unfair? Yeah we felt that way, but what can we do about it? We can’t sit around and cry about it. All we can do is go out here as a group and try to do the best thing legally to prevent this from happening to other players down the road. There was no personal vendettas. As far as my part goes I didn’t expect anything about missing last year even though some judges said I was done irreparable harm as far as the compensation of missing those games of my career, but that’s in the past. I knew I had an opportunity to do a lot with my future with a lot of years ahead of me. I think we did make some strides as far as the collective bargaining agreement and the treatment of players and contracts. I think we did very well on that end, so I’m happy with it. I’m happy to be back here playing football.”