Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson had his epic games, plays, and moments as a Philadelphia Eagle but will no longer be playing in Philly. If you just look at Jackson’s statistics, this move is beyond confusing. Jackson was the first player in 69 years to have a receiving, rushing, and return touchdown in each of his first three seasons. In Jackson’s second season in 2009, he was the first player to be a Pro Bowler at two positions as a wide receiver and return specialist. This past season, Jackson had a career high 82 catches, career high 1,332 in receiving yards, and matching his career high in touchdowns with 9. It is clear that the Eagles released Jackson for his questionable lifestyle and the amount of money they would have had to pay him over the next 3 seasons, not his play on the football field.
The story of Jackson’s status with the Eagles has been going downhill all week and has finally come to a head. The story broke early Friday afternoon that the team had released Jackson. The announcement of the release was then followed by a statement by the Philadelphia Eagles, “After careful consideration over this offseason, the Philadelphia Eagles have decided to part ways with DeSean Jackson. The team informed him of his release today.” The statement came shortly after the release of DeSean Jackson from an NJ.com story with Jackson’s affiliations with 2 Los Angeles gang members. After this report by NJ.com DeSean Jackson fired back with his own statement addressing this situation.
“I would like to address the misleading and unfounded reports that my release has anything to do with any affiliation that has been speculated surrounding the company I keep off of the field. I would like to make it very clear that I am not and never have been part of any gang. I am not a gang member and to speculate and assume that I am involved in such activity off the field is reckless and irresponsible. I work very hard on and off the field and I am a good person with good values. I am proud of the accomplishments that I have made both on and off the field.
I have worked tirelessly to give back to my community and have a positive impact on those in need. It is unfortunate that I now have to defend myself and my intentions. These reports are irresponsible and just not true.”
The reasons given for Jackson’s release have all been related to a bad attitude, inconsistent work ethic and a questionable social group.
Jackson has been labeled as a prima donna type from his home in Los Angeles, the campus of the University of California, and now to South Philly. Also, Jackson developed a reputation as a hot head as he got in an argument with wide receivers coach Bob Bicknell this past December in a game against the Minnesota Vikings. Jackson also began his rap label last offseason and has been linked to being romantically involved with a porn star and other celebrities. The rationale for Jackson being linked to being in a gang is that Jackson has often been seen putting up gang symbols with his hands on social media like Instagram with known gang members. He has also been known to have a social group that includes gang members.
Former teammate Michael Vick said this about Jackson on SNY’s Daily News Live, “I think sometimes it takes a change in your life to understand really what needs to happen, and the course that needs to be set. Maybe it’s time for a change for DeSean to help him understand the maturation process of his young NFL life and his personal life.” Then current Eagle and now former teammate offensive lineman Jason Kelce tweeted this shorty after the release was official, “We just made an extremely unpopular decision, but I couldn’t be more excited and happy with where this organization is going !! #FlyEaglesFly.”
The comments by his former teammates obviously state that they know Jackson is an incredible talent but know this is out off their hands and know that this best for the team going into the future. This bold move shows that head coach Chip Kelly and the rest of the Eagles front office will not tolerate too much irresponsibility off of the field and sends this message to current players on the Eagles and future players. Although Jackson was amazing on the field, his antics off the field were just too much for the Eagles and this move really begins the culture Chip Kelly is hoping to mold with this team.