ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins receiver DeSean Jackson let his teammates and coaches know where he would be last week. They didn't have an issue with him skipping voluntary workouts, so Jackson is not about to worry if anyone else does.
The veteran receiver returned this week after missing the first week of Redskins organized team activities. The sessions are voluntary and his absence was excused; Jackson said he had personal business to tend to in California.
Jackson attended the Eastern Conference finals in Cleveland last Tuesday, the first night of OTAs, posting photos on Instagram. He then headed to California for business and was scheduled to appear at a singles release party for rapper Kid Cali.
"I had things I had to do," Jackson said. "I was obligated to do things back home in California. I'm here now, I'm happy to be here with my teammates, and they've been putting in some great work. I'm trying to catch up and get back in the swing of things. I just had things I had to handle."
Teammates privately said they were not bothered by Jackson's absence for a simple reason: He produces. Jackson caught 56 passes for 1,169 yards and six touchdowns last season, leading the NFL with 13 receptions of 40 yards or more.
"My head coach, my teammates, the people in this building knew about my whereabouts," Jackson said. "As far as critics or anybody else, I don't play for them and I don't worry about them. I had things to do and I had things that were important in my life."
Redskins coach Jay Gruden said he'd like every player to attend OTAs, but knows that's a tough goal.
"I don't know how many teams have 100 percent [attendance]," Gruden said. "We've had great participation. [Jackson] missed a little bit of time, but he had reasons for it, and I trust the fact that when he does come back, and has come back, he'll be in great shape. He's a veteran guy, he knows the system and he's an extremely intelligent person."
Redskins quarterbacks had to adjust to passing to the speedy Jackson, with coaches telling them to throw his way even if covered because of his ability to separate downfield. Jackson and QB Robert Griffin III had not worked out together much this offseason before this week; Jackson did not attend a week of workouts with Griffin and other Redskins in Florida two months ago.
"We've got to build," Jackson said. "The time we spend on the field, the time we spend hanging out, it's only going to get better. I look forward to him growing and me growing and us growing together, not only us but the team. It's a team effort; everyone has to be on one page."
The eighth-year Jackson also knows he's now looked to for leadership. And with that, there comes an offseason balancing act: taking care of personal business while making sure to help teammates on the field.
"We spend a lot of time together," Jackson said. "Offseason is a big part of it, don't get me wrong; I'm aware of that. ... The young guys have been putting their work in. We have a lot of time to spend together, work together and build a chemistry. So that's not a problem."
Off the field, Jackson's life has been busy. He's getting ready to shoot a reality show for BET, and he said his girlfriend is pregnant.
"Trying to stay busy because once August comes, my time is all dedicated to football," he said.