DeSean Jackson could've taken his offer from the Washington Redskins under consideration while he visited other teams around the league also interested in his services.
But after his release by the Philadelphia Eagles late last week, the dynamic wide receiver said he was immediately embraced by several Redskins players and team officials – Robert Griffin III and DeAngelo Hall among them – and just felt right making the immediate switch to the burgundy and gold.
Jackson on Wednesday made it official and signed his contract with the Redskins, who are more than thrilled to acquire a player coming off a career year in which he set personal highs in receptions and receiving yards, while also matching his career high in receiving touchdowns.
"I think it was an open-arms situation," Jackson said Wednesday in a conference call with members of the local media shortly after signing with the team. "I think this place right here is a great place and has some great things going on, and I'm just happy to be an addition to help this team win."
Jackson, 27, was released by the Eagles on Friday, setting the stage for Redskins general manager Bruce Allen and first-year head coach Jay Gruden to quickly make their pitch to the three-time Pro Bowler.
"Anytime you have an opportunity to get a splash player like DeSean Jackson, you have to do your best to get him," Gruden said. "Fortunately, Bruce Allen and Dan Snyder got it done, but we're excited to have the competitor and the player of DeSean's caliber."
Upon his release, Jackson said he was contacted almost immediately by Griffin III, a young quarterback hoping to add yet another piece to an already-deep and talented group of wide receivers that includes Pierre Garçon, who led the league with 113 catches in 2013.
"We are all excited to have (Jackson) join our team," Griffin III said. "Our team and his city will be there for him."
Jackson hand-picked Washington as his first visit as a free agent, and on Monday night was seen hanging out with Hall and Garçon in the D.C. area. Jackson was also the recipient of social media messages from Redskins fans Wale, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kevin Durant, each of whom were pleading with the receiver to take his talents to the Redskins.
Ultimately, however, Jackson said it was his conversations with Hall and Griffin III that sealed the deal in his mind.
"DeAngelo Hall really stepped up to the plate, and, you know, called me and just said, 'Look bro, I know I've been playing against you for a long time, but this is a situation where I think if you came in here, I think you could help us out a lot,'" Jackson said. "Those guys stood up for me and they just embraced me. They knew what my talent was and they knew what I could help bring to the football team, so that was the end of the decision."
Jackson said he is also thrilled to work with Gruden and offensive coordinator Sean McVay on putting himself and his teammates in the best position possible to win football games.
"You can go back and look at his track record over the past three years – what he was able to do in Cincinnati with Andy Dalton and A.J. Green – that speaks for itself right there," Jackson said to ESPN 980 of Gruden, who spent the last three years as the Cincinnati Bengals' offensive coordinator. "Last year being in Philadelphia and seeing the success that Chip Kelly had, and coming in this year with a new coach, I think it's very possible Jay Gruden can have some very successful years here."
After all, winning, Jackson said, is ultimate goal for any player in the Redskins locker room.
"I'm happy about the situation I'm in here and like I said, at the end of the day, it's all about winning in the NFL," Jackson said. "That's the biggest thing I can say is I feel like I am around a group of guys that are very talented, and at the same time, they're young, they're in their prime and I'm just happy to be an addition to the Washington Redskins, and the city has done a great job of reaching out and showing me how much they care and appreciate my game and what I'm able to do."