DeSean Jackson will be playing in a game between two teams that ultimately helped him realize his dreams of being a professional football player as a child.
Jackson is very familiar with the Silver and Black, seeing the two colors often in his youth as a Los Angeles native. The Raiders were in Los Angeles for eight years of his childhood, before relocating back to Oakland after the 1994 season. The very first professional football game he ever attended was the Kansas City Chiefs versus the Raiders at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
"I was on the sideline, took a picture. I was young, I was probably only seven or eight years old," Jackson said reminiscing on his first NFL fan experience. "It was big for me. Ever since then, I always wanted to play in the NFL. So to look back now how time changes and turns ... it's definitely going to be special."
After Jackson cleared waivers, the Silver and Black couldn't pass up the opportunity of adding depth and veteran experience to the wide receiver room. The release of a couple receivers prompted the Raiders to look at Jackson and make the swift decision to sign him.
"First, he was available," Interim Head Coach Rich Bisaccia said on the decision to sign Jackson. "And that he can still really run. ... He was with the Rams so he's been a part of our offense to some degree. The verbiage, some of the terminology, some of the concepts – so we thought he'd be well versed with a little bit. And we had a really good Zoom call with him.
"Our offensive staff and myself had a great Zoom call with him on Saturday and felt that he was sincerely looking for an opportunity to keep playing and was excited about being able to do it with us and to play with Derek Carr."
Bisaccia alluded to Jackson being familiar with the Raiders offense – as the receiver practiced against the Raiders in Training Camp a few months ago. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson also had a stint with a Rams under Sean McVay prior to joining the organization. Derek Carr, along with Bisaccia, is eager to see what the dynamic the former Pro Bowler will bring to the offense.
"He's one of, if not the best deep threat that's ever played." Derek Carr on DeSean Jackson
"He's very fast. He can still run and that definitely showed up today," said Carr. "What he was able to do today was impressive, I'll just say it that way. From a chemistry standpoint, you got to get reps. ... Hopefully it doesn't take too long, we don't have too long. We're almost to the halfway point. ... But you look at it and say with a guy like that, with his understanding of coverage, you don't have to go out there and teach him anything. He knows what I'm thinking.
"He's played with so many great quarterbacks. He's one of, if not the best deep threat that's ever played. He knows where to be."
Jackson's decision to sign with the Raiders was a simplistic one. He said it would give him the chance to play close to home with Los Angeles being less than four hours away. It would also give him the opportunity to play for a playoff contender led by Carr at quarterback, who Jackson believes will easily be able to find him deep down the field.
The 14-year veteran expressed in his introductory media availability that he became even more impressed with Carr last season seeing the chemistry the QB developed with Nelson Agholor, Jackson's friend and former Eagles teammate. Agholor had a career-high 896 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in his one season with Carr, and played in a similar role in the offense that Jackson is presumed to take on.
"Obviously having Derek Carr at quarterback – I've been able to see him do some special things in his career, obviously going back to his rookie year," Jackson said on seeing Carr progress. "His arm strength, his big-play ability, his toughness, his swagger. His intangibles to be a quarterback, I think he has all the great things in a quarterback that you could ask for.
"Having that playmaking ability for myself and obviously, a quarterback that can get the ball down the field, is huge. Because there were other options out there but I was very confident in the situation that he's able to get the ball down the field."
The receiver credited players such as Marshawn Lynch, Kirk Morrison, Fabian Washington, DeAngelo Hall and Nnamdi Asomugha as some of his biggest influences that made him want to put on the Silver and Black. This Sunday's game in Allegiant Stadium will be more than just a debut in a new uniform for him. He'll be playing against the team his older brother Byron Jackson played with on the practice squad for two seasons and the team he saw in his first NFL game.
"For it to come full circle for me, to finally be able to say I put [the Silver and Black] on – I got a lot envisioned for it and I'm just looking forward to the first game Sunday."
View photos of new Raiders wide receiver DeSean Jackson in action. Jackson is a three-time Pro Bowler who as made 620 catches for 10,877 yards and 57 touchdowns over 167 games.