ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins receiver DeSean Jackson tried to convince a room full of reporters and perhaps himself that Saturday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles is, well, just another game. Word is he wanted to try to convince everyone of the existence of Santa Claus, as well.
Jackson, released by the Eagles after the 2013 season, already has played two games against his former team, which lessens the emotional aspect of Saturday's meeting. However, this is the first time he'll play them with the NFC East title on the line. If the Redskins win Saturday, they'll win the division.
"I'm not going to make it more than what it is," Jackson said. "We've got a game to go win. That's really all that matters."
In interviews during the offseason, and even on his TV show on BET this summer, Jackson made it clear that he felt the Eagles ran a "smear campaign" against him. Just look at his numbers against them since his release. In two games, Jackson has caught a combined nine passes for 243 yards and a touchdown.
He was more diplomatic about his situation Wednesday.
"It's just part of history," Jackson said. "I'm happy to be here in Washington, and I'm not looking back. It's over and done with. I'm blessed to have a job and still playing at a high level. Anything else really doesn't matter."
It helps that Jackson recently turned 29, so he understands better how to control his emotions. Last weekend, the NFL world saw what happened when a young receiver, the New York Giants' Odell Beckham Jr., could not.
"It won't be an Odell Beckham situation," Redskins corner DeAngelo Hall said. "He won't go out there guns blazing."
Jackson said, "Odell just happened to let his emotions and feelings get to him. There's been times where I've been in certain games, and I wanted to do certain things as well, too, but just trying to keep your composure and just not costing your team. It's just really not smart."
Jackson is an emotional player, but he understands this game is bigger than Jackson against the Eagles, and so do his teammates. The Redskins' veteran leadership will remind Jackson of this, although Jackson said nothing Wednesday that suggests he hasn't heard the message.
"I understand you're playing against your old team and against a coach that let you go," Redskins end Ricky Jean Francois said. "Hey, I thank Chip Kelly for letting that guy go. He's on the team with us now, so I'm not mad at him. But the only emotions I want you to have is when you put that [NFC East title] hat on at the end of the game. We don't need all the extra stuff."
Jackson said that's what he plans to do. His play has been a key part of the improved offense over the past several weeks. He's averaging 21.4 yards per catch the past four games, and he and quarterback Kirk Cousins have found a good rhythm.
However, Jackson knows better than to say anything outlandish, though he did tell Eagles reporters in a conference call, "I couldn't care less who covers me. Whoever does, good luck to them."
"I can't really predict what will happen," Jackson said. "I wish to say everything will happen in a great way: I'll score touchdowns and win games, and we'll be coming back to Washington and be in the playoffs. ... Hopefully, everything will stay cordial, and everything goes good, and we battle and win the game. That's what really matters."
And that's why the Redskins are excited to have Jackson.
"This is one of the reasons we recruited him, and one of the reasons he came here is to face those guys," Hall said. "No better situation to face them than for it all for the division."