Eagles Release DeSean Jackson Over Off-Field Acquaintances; Joins Redskins

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles and Coach Chip Kelly decide to release the team’s most explosive player over off-field concerns:

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Via NFL.com: The Philadelphia Eagles announced Friday that DeSean Jackson was informed of his release.

Jackson will finish his six-year Eagles career with 356 receptions, 6,117 yards and 39 total touchdowns.

The end of the Jackson saga comes in the wake of a Friday morning NJ.com report claiming the Eagles have “serious concerns” about the wide receiver’s continued association with reputed Los Angeles street gang members tied to a pair of homicides.

The same report also questions Jackson’s attitude, work ethic, chemistry with coach Chip Kelly and penchant for missing team meetings to hang out with friends.

Jackson addressed the report through a statement obtained by NFL Media.

“First I would like to thank the Eagles organization, the Eagles fans and the city of Philadelphia for my time in Philly,” Jackson said. “I would also like to thank coach Andy Reid for bringing me in. Secondly, 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. I look forward to working hard for my new team. God Bless.”

The Eagles’ disillusionment with Jackson was rooted wholly in off-the-field concerns, as the 27-year-old flourished in Kelly’s offense, setting career highs across the board as one of the NFL’s most dangerous offensive weapons.

“They are concerned about having him around the younger players,” an Eagles source told NJ.com.

Speaking at a charity event Thursday, teammate Jeremy Maclin drew a parallel between Jackson’s falling out with the organization and the Terrell Owens debacle of 2005 and 2006.

Perhaps the Eagles’ brass realized there was no longer hope of rebuilding any semblance of trade value after those two stories blew up in social media Friday.

Jackson had been on the trade block since March 1, per Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“I’ve been told by sources this has something to do with Kelly and the kind of culture he’s trying to create,” McLane told NFL Network on Friday.

The front office reportedly had shifted from fielding calls to actively shopping Jackson within a three-day span last week. The Eagles’ inability to find a taker is more attributable to Jackson’s unwieldy salary than a suspect pattern of behavior.

Although the release will end up costing Jackson money in the long run, he won’t lack for suitors as the lone difference-maker on the open market.

Had Jackson been free entering March, he would have ranked No. 1 on our wide receiver list and in the top 10 to 12 range overall.

Teams connected to Jackson over the past two weeks include the 49ers, Raiders, Jets, Panthers, Seahawks and Patriots.

It’s hard to blame the Eagles for washing their hands of Jackson in a post-Aaron Hernandez NFL landscape, but character concerns haven’t stopped the deep threat from producing at a high level on the field.

One of those half-dozen teams listed above just might luck into the last available rook in a superpower chess match.

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Posted on March 28, 2014, in NFL and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Eagles Release DeSean Jackson Over Off-Field Acquaintances; Joins Redskins.

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