Five seasons ago, when Terrell Owens went out for his first practice in an Eagles uniform, the veteran wide receiver and celebrated acquisition of that off-season wore the same black spandex tights he donned during his practice sessions with the San Francisco 49ers.
That was a no-no in coach Andy Reid's rule book.
Sweats or shorts were and still are the dress code for an Eagles practice even for the star who once danced on the Dallas Cowboys' midfield star.
Somehow, you almost get the impression that DeSean Jackson could show up naked for work tomorrow at the NovaCare Complex and Reid might decide that the uniform is optional for his scintillating second-year receiver.
Because Jackson does so many jaw-dropping things on the football field, he's managed to make Reid do and say things that you never thought you'd see or hear from the Eagles' coach who was once accused of being a control freak by T.O.
For the second time this season Sunday night, Jackson scored a touchdown, then made a beeline for Reid on the sideline and got the coach to participate in a high-flying, chest-bump celebration – for the record, only Jackson was flying - that seemed tremendously out of character for the head coach.
During the first celebration at Lincoln Financial Field earlier this season, Reid seemed to be a reluctant participant. After Jackson's 60-yard touchdown allowed the Eagles to quickly regain the lead at Giants Stadium, Reid seemed to be waiting for Jackson and the entire Eagles sideline laughed hysterically at the unlikely event.
"We worked on it a few times during the week," a relaxed Reid said yesterday, just a few short hours after he returned with his team from the Meadowlands. "I was afraid I was going to lose my Achilles tendon. I was just happy that when I landed it was still intact."
Jackson truly seems to enjoy his relationship with the Eagles' head coach even though the two men seem to be a much odder couple than Felix Unger and Oscar Madison.
"Coach Reid, me and him, we joke around a little bit," Jackson said. "We mess around. He's definitely like a father as well as a coach. Our relationship is huge – two people from California. I cherish the relationship we have. I know not too many people get to mess around and joke around with him like that."
Jackson's ability to bring out Reid's playful side in just his second season in the NFL might be as amazing as the 23-year-old receiver's 72-yard punt return for a touchdown that stunned the Giants.
Reid clearly has fallen in love with Jackson's playful side, mostly because he loves the way the kid plays.
"He's pretty stinking exciting," Reid said after Sunday night's game. "We're playing in New York, this is a pretty big venue. It's like we're playing in the backyard with him. When the game is on the line, he wants the ball. I don't mind giving it to him."
Why would he?
Jackson averages 18.5 yards per touch, which is the best in the league. He averages 18.9 yards per reception, which is also the best in the league. He averages 17.8 yards per punt return, which is the best in the league and, if it holds up, would be the best average per return since Lemar Parrish averaged 18.8 yards for Cincinnati in 1974. His 10 touchdowns are tied for second in the NFL and, of course, his eight TDs from more than 50 yards have tied an NFL record.
"The thing I appreciate about him most is he loves to play the game," Reid said. "He gets very excited. He doesn't care about how big the game is or anything else. He just goes out and plays and enjoys it."
Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg knows special when he sees it, especially at the wide receiver position. He coached Jerry Rice in San Francisco and Owens with both the 49ers and Eagles.
"I've been fortunate to coach some of the greatest to ever play," Mornhinweg said. "This guy is special and he's unique. He's a natural player. He just has gut instincts and things come very quickly to him. He gets everything very quickly and he's really smart. And then he has that mentality that he will not be denied and that nobody can cover him or stop him, which is important."
Mornhinweg said a 5-foot-10, 175-pound body would be an impediment for almost every other wide receiver that tried to play in the NFL, but Jackson has managed to use his lack of size to his advantage.
"He's unique in his stature," Mornhinweg said. "There are very few receivers his size that could even think about playing at a high level in this league. Most of them get engulfed. His size is a positive. Think about his whole career and how many hits has he taken? I know he took one a couple weeks ago, but he takes very few."
Every once in a while, however, he goes chest first into his head coach and he gets away with it.