A defiant DeSean Jackson met with reporters on Thursday, shrugged off his foot injury, and pronounced that he's playing in Sunday's huge game against the New York Giants.

And Jackson went on to dismiss criticism over his Nestea plunge celebration against the Cowboys - his quarterback was among the legion of critics - and reported that he is unhappy with his contract situation.

Even though he participated in the early individual-drill portion of practice, Jackson was listed as a nonparticipant in Thursday's session. It was his second straight day without officially practicing.

Friday will be a true test, however. Eagles coach Andy Reid is normally reluctant to play one of his players without a week of practice.

"I'll be ready for Sunday, and that's all that matters," Jackson said. "I can't let my team go out there without me."

Jackson sprained his foot returning a punt in the third quarter of the Eagles' 30-27 win over Dallas on Sunday. Later, playing at 60 percent (his estimate), Jackson broke a 20-20 tie with a 91-yard touchdown catch-and-run that he punctuated with a backward flop into the end zone.

The act drew an unsportsmanlike-conduct personal foul and disapproval from Reid and quarterback Michael Vick.

"That's his own opinion," Jackson said of Vick, who offset his criticism with praise. "He's his own man. I'm my own man. Like I said, I just wish I didn't get a penalty or shouldn't have been penalized for it to hurt my team. But as far as me doing my celebration, doing my entertainment, that's going to be me."

Vick was later asked if he celebrated much after touchdowns when he was younger and in Atlanta.

"I never celebrated," Vick said. "I do something every now and then - dunk the ball or something [as he did Sunday after a 1-yard TD run]. But that's about it. Some guy runs 91 yards for a touchdown you deserve to do anything you want."

Except?

"He got a 15-yard penalty," Vick answered.

Jackson said that he thought the penalty was excessive.

"People dive into the end zone all day," Jackson said. "That shouldn't have been a penalty. I turned around backwards. That's probably why. Like I said, I'm going to keep on doing what I'm doing, and that's entertainment. That's my job."

Speaking of entertainment - or something like that - Jackson went on The T.Ocho Show two days earlier and addressed his contract situation with fellow receivers Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco of the Bengals.

The 24-year-old is in the third year of the four-year contract he signed as a rookie and said on the show that the Eagles were "going to have to do something" in regards to an extension.

Jackson, however, said he has not been distracted by his unresolved contract situation.

"I know what I'm worth. . . . It's not going to get in the way of anything," Jackson said. "At times, things get in the way, but as a professional you have to put that to the side and just go out there and play football."

Still, Jackson has said several times that he is aiming for a big payday - one that would set the bar for receivers. That would suggest that he expects to be paid among the top at his position.

"I know what I'm capable of doing," said Jackson, who is 28 yards shy of eclipsing 1,000 receiving yards for the second straight season. "The fan base that I've built so far, if you ask all of my fans I think they'll tell you I'm a top five [receiver]. I'm one of the best receivers."

Jackson's four-catch, 210-yard performance against the Cowboys upped his receiving numbers to 42 receptions for 972 yards. He has six receiving touchdowns and another on the ground. He hasn't been as explosive a punt returner as he was last season when he returned two punts for touchdowns, including a 72-yarder at New York.

Even if he can play Sunday, there is a chance he won't return punts. Special-teams coordinator Bobby April said either Jorrick Calvin or Jeremy Maclin would fill in if that were the case.

Generally, Jackson said, too much was being made of his injury, his backward splashdown, and his contract.

"Even when I didn't practice [Wednesday] everybody made a big deal. 'He flops in the end zone. He doesn't go to practice,' " Jackson said. "I suffered a foot injury before that flop into the end zone. Whatever it is people make a big deal out of it. I promise you I could care less about it. It's not going to make me lose sleep."

Contact staff writer Jeff McLane at 215-854-4745 or jmclane@phillynews.com.
Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Jeff_McLane.