All-Pro tight end Keith Jackson returned to Philadelphia with a mission.
He returned Wednesday without a new contract and minus $114,500 in salary and fines from his seven-week holdout, but with the desire to help his winless teammates and his embattled coach, Buddy Ryan."I decided to come in for the team and for my coach," said Jackson, who is expected to join the Eagles against the Rams in Los Angeles Sunday. "When they went 0-2 and I saw that I wasn't hurting anyone but the team and myself, I said I'd better get back in there and make a turnaround."
Jackson, 25, who made the Pro Bowl his first two NFL seasons, wanted to renegotiate his four-year, $2.1 million contract, which included an $800,000 signing bonus.
Team owner Norman Braman and general manager Harry Gamble refused.
Jackson's agent, Gary Wichard, said Jackson "wanted to come back for Buddy and his teammates and nothing else."
And that's what he got - nothing else.
When Wichard told Gamble Wednesday morning that Jackson was coming back, the agent continued to press for contract changes, Gamble said.
"He suggested that maybe we might make some minor modifications," Gamble said, "which I did not do."
Jackson conceded some bitterness remained.
Ryan, whose new offense has sputtered in crucial moments, was happy to welcome back the 6-foot-2, 250-pound former Oklahoma All-American.
"I think he'll bring a big lift," Ryan said. "He'll scare the heck out of some folks. He's going to dictate some coverages."
Jackson said he wanted to help Ryan, who is in the last year of a five-year contract. When Braman hired him, Ryan said he would have the Eagles in the Super Bowl by the end of his contract.
"I just heard some rumors through different angles that coach won't be here next year. And I felt like if he's not here, then I don't want to be here," Jackson said.
"And so I felt that I should come in not only for him, but for the team. And I was hurting myself at the same time. But I was set to sit out the whole year."
The Eagles renegotiated quarterback Randall Cunningham's contract last year, giving Jackson hope.
Wichard called Braman an egomaniac caught up in "an ego contest."
"If we left it up to Norman Braman, the Philadelphia Eagles would be 0-16," Wichard said.