L.A. event blocks Packers' Jackson from camp
As a second-round pick, Jackson had an immediate opportunity to compete for a starting job in Green Bay's backfield. And, as a first-day drafted offensive player at a skill position, he received an invitation to participate in this weekend's Premiere event in Los Angeles, where top selected skill players attend photo card shoots, contend for endorsements and receive television exposure. Even better, players receive $12,000 for attending.
Yet Jackson's good fortune, however, has turned sour in recent days.
The Premiere event was scheduled for the same weekend as the Packers' minicamp -- and Jackson couldn't choose. The NFL Players Association and the Management Council ruled this week that Jackson was required to attend the Premiere event and not the minicamp.
"I'm being held out against my will," Jackson said Thursday. "I was told I either have to go home and do nothing or go to Los Angeles. They are locking me out against my will."
Once Jackson received the invitation to L.A., he sensed a problem. He knew the shoot conflicted with his Packers schedule. Through his agent, Gary Wichard, Jackson notified the league of the conflict and informed officials he wanted to attend the minicamp. He showed up this week and started to work on training and learning the playbook.
Reports of Brett Favre's now-expected attendance in minicamp made Jackson feel even better about picking camp over the Premiere event. Jackson was going to try to show Favre that the Packers' backfield problems, with him now on the roster, would not be as pronounced.
"I feel like I need to learn the plays so I can come back and try to win a starting job in the fall," Jackson said. "I've only had four or five practices with the veterans, but my agent told me the collective bargaining agreement couldn't let me go to the minicamp."
Jackson's time commitment in Los Angeles will be from Thursday night through Sunday. He's worried his new teammates might not understand his absence.
"I don't want them to think I'm some kind of a prima donna," Jackson said. "I want to show them I want to work and get a feel for the game. I'm real disappointed. I want to be in camp."
John Clayton is a senior writer for ESPN.com
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