- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 4, 2016

RICHMOND — DeSean Jackson will be 30 years old Dec. 1. That’s not old in the real world, but the Washington Redskins’ wide receiver understands the reality of a business that is generally unkind to veteran players.

Maybe it’s the seven games Jackson missed in 2015 because of a left hamstring strain, or the eight seasons and 11 regular-season games Jackson has played in, but he felt the need to strengthen his body in the offseason and gained six pounds.

“Adding it or not adding it, I can still manage,” Jackson said on Thursday. “I’ve been in this league eight years and played eight years besides maybe one or two years getting hurt here and there with small, little injuries, things like that. Nothing — knock on wood — nothing too drastic.

“I just felt, I’m 29 now, getting up there a little bit but at the same time just wanted to have a little more physicality to me and just really go out there and be the guy who plays throughout the whole season. Just expect nothing but greatness from me. I’m trying to push myself, trying to challenge myself to go out there and do things like that.”

Jackson still managed to play a big part in the Redskins’ offense despite missing half the season and caught 30 passes for 528 yards and four touchdowns. As he enters the final year of his contract with the Redskins, he’s still widely considered by his peers to be one of the best deep threats in the league and he hopes to continue that this season.

While he’s challenged himself, the addition of All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman has helped push Jackson as well.

“My relationship with Josh is a very friendly, very competitive relationship,” Jackson said. “Him being an addition to our team this year, we really have been able to get some good work and some competitive nature out there and really just compete.”

The one-on-one matchups between Jackson and Norman have drawn plenty of excitement in camp, as well as ire from fans at training camp and on social media seemingly whenever Jackson or other receivers get the best of the team’s $75 million man.

“You know, it’s practice,” Jackson said. “That’s what we’re out here for, to get better and challenge each other. It’s not like he’s going against a guy that’s not capable of winning matchups and one-on-ones. I really look at it as for wide receivers, it’s really for a wide receiver to win.

“But I mean, of course, he’s getting paid. He’s knows to be a top corner in this league, so everybody is supposedly like, ‘He’s supposed to stop whoever it is that’s coming out there,’ but it’s challenging on both sides. But as far as intangibles, his length, his arms, he’s got some great intangibles with his game. I think, right now, it’s just only helping him.”

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