Since entering the NFL, San Diego Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson has improved every year. In turn, next year should be quite fruitful.

Jackson, a Widefield High graduate, has gone from three catches as a rookie to one of the premier receivers in football. Jackson is on pace for 80 catches, 1,492 yards and eight touchdowns this season, which would be career highs. And his timing is perfect. After this season he becomes a free agent.

Jackson said he has informed his agent he doesn’t want any negotiations with the team during the season because he doesn’t want the distraction, and he won’t worry about his contract until after the season. For now, Jackson is appreciating his career year.

“I think the coaching staff and Philip (Rivers, San Diego’s quarterback) has gotten more confidence in me,” Jackson said. “As that continues to grow, there’s not a limit to what I can accomplish.”

He leads the AFC in receiving yards per game. His average of 18.7 yards per catch is 1.6 yards better than any other NFL receiver with more than 15 catches. If he keeps his current pace, he will have a great case for his first Pro Bowl.

“It’s so early, we’ve only played four games,” Jackson said about his Pro Bowl hopes. “That’s a big step because there are so many great wide receivers in the AFC. I’m just going to keep doing what I do.

“That would be great for my university (Northern Colorado), for Colorado Springs, it would make a lot of people proud.”

Chargers coach Norv Turner said Jackson has gotten better every year because he has become a disciplined route runner through hard work, along with his physical skill. Turner said a number of Chargers will have contracts expiring in the next couple of years, but re-signing Jackson is a priority.

“Certainly, from a standpoint of what’s best for our football team, we’d love to have him here,” Turner said.