Chip Kelly still hasn’t spoken publicly since he kicked three-time Pro Bowl wideout DeSean Jackson to the curb abruptly last month, a silence that’s opened the door for all sorts of speculation about the reason he parted ways with one of the NFL’s most dynamic weapons.
One popular theory is that Kelly needed to make an example for others who might be unwilling to buy into the coach’s unique program.
Jeremy Maclin practically scoffed at that suggestion.
“I don’t think it was for that,” the veteran receiver said Wednesday. “I don’t think you release a guy to send a message. We’re not in high school anymore. I don't think you do it like that.”
Maclin didn’t have answers for why Jackson, at 27, had to have his bags packed coming off the best season of his career. And although he dismissed the idea that Kelly was looking to make a statement, Maclin admitted that there’s a lesson to be learned.
“It’s all about doing the right thing at the end of the day,” Maclin said. “That’s what you do. You come up, you show up to work, do the right things, be positive, things are going to work out in your favor. It all comes down to doing the right things.”
Maclin hardly seemed upset that his former teammate, who went over the 1,300-yard receiving mark last year and caught 82 passes, won’t be adding to the offense this year, or that Jackson landed on his feet with the Eagles’ divisional rivals, the Redskins.
Asked how the Eagles would replace Jackson’s top-end speed and vertical threat, Maclin said, “We’ll be fine, man.”
“Because I have faith in the offense and I got faith in the guys we have in the locker room,” he later added. “Chip said it himself. The offense isn’t built around one guy. We have multiple guys that can go out there and make plays. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do this year.”
Maclin fielded several Jackson-related questions during his 13-minute session with reporters and bypassed several opportunities to say that his former teammate would be missed or express anything remotely supportive of Jackson.
Maclin declined to go into detail about his relationship with Jackson but said he hasn’t spoken with the Redskins receiver since the Eagles cut ties.
“Our relationship is our relationship,” he said. “It doesn’t need to be shared with anybody else.”
Sure sounded like they won’t be exchanging Christmas cards over the holidays.
Asked if he’d get tired of persistent Jackson questions, Maclin said, “If you guys want to ask about him, he’s in Washington now, so I suggest you all go to Washington and ask about him.”
Maclin missed all of last year after tearing his ACL during the first week of training camp. He said his knee is fully recovered and he’s excited about his role in the offense, which should be prominent given the departures of Jackson and veteran slot receiver Jason Avant.
Interestingly, Maclin admitted that NFL teams need two dynamic receivers to contend. Maclin and Jackson could have represented one of the league’s best receiver tandems, but Maclin suggested that the Eagles already have a dominant one-two punch, even without Jackson.
“I think we have two,” he said. “I think we have more than two, but I think we have two definitely.”