Q&A with Willie Jackson

[MEDIA:32872] After a great 2001 NFL campaign, Willie Jackson is looking for a new home. Could he be re-united with his college quarterback (Shane Matthews) and coach (Steve Spurrier) in Washington? Yesterday, I had a chance to ask him that and a whole lot more.

Willie Jackson finished the 2001 campaign,his eighth in the NFL with his first 1,000 yard season. He caught 81 passes for 1,046 yards and 5 touchdowns for the New Orleans Saints. He is now a free agent and will finally cash in on his success this offseason. But with the business that is the NFL, it has not come so quickly. I caught up with "Willie Jack" in Gainesville after one of his recent workouts.

Ack: How rewarding was last season?

WJ: Very, it was all about getting the opportunity to be a starter. I used it as chance to motivate and prove myself and consequently I had a big year.

Ack: Will you be back with the Saints?

WJ: No... I do not think that is possible. They went receiver in the draft and we have parted ways.

Ack: Is it about money?

WJ: Yes and no. See I don't want the minimum yet a competitive and fair salary. I have been in this league a long time and the players that get paid-play. I want to play; I love to play the game.

Ack:What about practice?

WJ: I have worked very hard in the offseason during my career and that is why I believe I have stayed so healthy. I think I can play ten more years, because I am in that kind of shape. I wouldn't be that way if I did not practice and prepare myself properly.

Ack: Any bitterness toward the lack of enthusiasm for your services?

WJ: No, it's a business and teams have called it will just take some time.I have been behind guys who were not as good as me for a long time because they made more money.

Ack: So it is about the money?

WJ: Essentially I want to be viewed as a starter, not a third receiver. If it takes a one year deal or a multi year deal I just want to play.

Ack: Has coach Spurrier called you?

WJ: We have talked they are one of the teams interested in me, but they are also the one who thinks my asking price is too high. But it may still workout.

Ack: Will he be successful in Washington?

WJ: Yes, the offense is a receiver's dream.

Ack: What other teams have contacted you and is June 1st when things may happen?

WJ: Minnesota,San Francisco and Green Bay along with Washington. Sure June 1st is important with McCardell, Freeman and Westbrook as veterans looking to move. I will find a spot, all I want to do is start and have a chance to play.

Ack: So until then chilling in Gainesville?

WJ: Not exactly. It is hot right now. Actually working out throwing daily with Shane (Matthews) and spending time with my 3 kids. (Sir-7,Kaiyla-3,Kahleil-1) <

Willie Jackson had 162 catches at Florida, 24 career touchdowns and almost all of them from Shane Matthews. He may still get a chance to join other Gators in Washington to reunite with Spurrier. If not, Willie knows how to go out and prove himself once again.

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