After DeSean Jackson injures Achilles, is his time with Bucs over?
Eduardo Encina, Tampa Bay Times, published 24 December 2018

Inside an empty Bucs locker room Sunday, WR DeSean Jackson limped around in visible pain, struggling to put weight on his right foot. The limp was so heavy that he didn't look like a player who had been able to return to the game against the Cowboys from a second-quarter Achilles injury. He also didn't look like a player who'd be ready for next weekend's finale against the Falcons.

Jackson hobbled off the field shortly after he caught his first pass in the 27-20 loss. "I got cleated in my Achilles," he said. "Hopefully not (serious). Everything's attached and still good. Shouldn't be too bad."

The game was Jackson's first after missing the previous three with a thumb injury. That injury isn't resolved, but Jackson felt good enough, in his mind, to catch and hold on to passes. Thus is the star-crossed season for Jackson, who is literally limping to the finish line.

Jackson's first catch Sunday was his only one. He caught a 24-yard pass from QB Jameis Winston late in the second quarter, a play that helped set up the Bucs' first touchdown, then quickly went to the sideline and fell to the ground holding his right foot.

The Bucs said Jackson was questionable to return, but he was back late in the third quarter, receiving one more target on a deep-ball incompletion. "Obviously, suffering an Achilles sprain or bruise or whatever it is, I was still able to get out there and fight and play through it," Jackson said. "It was a tough loss, obviously.

"It felt good, though, because everybody was fighting and just playing their hearts out, so that's what you take away from this game. Obviously, you like to win, but (there were) a lot of penalties, a lot of ups and downs throughout the game. You just credit everybody for still fighting.

Winston overthrew Jackson on a deep sideline route on his first target, then threw another incompletion deep to Jackson before connecting with him for the big gain on the next play. Jackson also had a 4-yard run on an end-around.

When Jackson is healthy, his mere presence is an asset to an offense because of his ability to stretch the field vertically, especially against a team that plays a majority of man coverage, like the Cowboys. Opponents have to account for him.

"Honestly, the past couple weeks have been tough, not being able to be out there with my teammates, but I used the time to try to get my thumb back to as close to 100 (percent) as I can," Jackson said. "I still felt it a little bit, but it was good enough for me to catch and squeeze the ball, and I felt confident going out there. So, it just felt good to get out there."

Between the injury and his contract status, Jackson's future with the Bucs is unclear. His $10 million contract for next season is not guaranteed.