It’s times like this where you have to force yourself to step back and look at a situation objectively, not through green-tinted glasses. The Philadelphia Eagles released DeSean Jackson, and it is 100 percent Jackson’s fault.
Look, I’m not going to attempt to spin Jackson’s release as the Eagles got better on the football field or positive at all. Clearly, that’s not the case. The numbers and accolades speak for themselves.
Jackson is a 27-year-old, three-time Pro Bowler coming off of a career year. He is one of only nine players since entering the league in 2008 to record at least 350 receptions, 6,000 yards receiving and 35 touchdowns.
Obviously, this decision didn’t come down to statistics and awards. It didn’t come down to contract or offensive schemes, either, although saving a few bucks probably didn’t hurt.
This decision was made based purely on Jackson’s attitude, behavior and questionable off-field activities and associations.
I’ve defended DeSean for years. Hell, I defended him yesterday. He had never been arrested to the public's knowledge. His charity work frequently made headlines. Yeah, he was a diva who played with a gigantic chip on his shoulder, as do many other professional athletes.
But if the Eagles saw and know enough to outright release a player of his caliber, I understand that such a decision was not made lightly. The organization has its reasons, and I accept them at face value.
I accept those reasons at face value in part because I’m already aware of some of the issues. No, I can’t speak to what Jackson is doing in his private time, namely the extent to which he associates or is involved with a gang, nor any other potentially illicit behavior. I don’t know to what extent a burglary at his Philadelphia home was suspicious, either.
I do know that it makes for an uncomfortable working environment when an employee is allowed to openly disrespect one of his superiors as Jackson did to wide receivers coach Bob Bicknell during a game last season. Philly.com’s Jimmy Kempski, who first reported Jackson could be as good as gone back on March 1, went so far as to suggest that was no isolated incident.
How many workplaces would that be acceptable in? What message does it send to the other players in the locker room? Who is to say he wouldn’t challenge Chip Kelly’s authority?
We know similar acts of disobedience are not isolated. Back in 2010, there was an incident where Jackson refused to field punts during pregame warmups—or in layman’s terms, do his job. During the great contract debacle of 2011, departed head coach Andy Reid actually left Jackson inactive for a game after he missed special teams meetings.
The entirety of the 2011 campaign could sum up most of Jackson’s negative qualities in a nutshell. He visibly gave less than full effort throughout the season while sulking over his contract. Guess what Jackson felt he was deserving of back in January.
A new contract.
How do you think that was going to play out over the next six months? 12 months? Two years?
Yes, the Eagles signed him to a five-year deal just two years ago. Yet it’s very telling that the organization would not guarantee any money beyond the first two years of the contract.
Hey, don’t take my word for it on any of this stuff, or the Eagles’ or the Philly media’s for that matter. Look no further than what the team was able to get in a trade for Jackson.
Nothing. Zilch. Nada. Not even a measly third-round pick for a player who posted 82 catches, 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns in 2013.
Maybe that speaks to how badly the Eagles bungled this situation. Far more likely is the lack of offers speaks to just how poor Jackson’s reputation is around the NFL.
Seeing as the Birds failed to move Jackson last year, too, I’d venture it was the latter.
Is it disappointing and frustrating from a fan perspective that a popular player and productive All Star in his prime was straight-up released? I completely understand that. I thought the Eagles would get something for Jackson. I thought they could get another year out of him at least. I never fully believed he would be released.
Don’t direct your anger in the wrong place though. You can say the Eagles got worse all you want. You can lazily and naively equate every time a member of the team ever did anything illegal/immoral to Jackson’s transgressions as if one singular event triggered this.
If you do that, you’re pointing the finger in all the wrong places. This is entirely DeSean Jackson’s fault. If you’re going to be mad at anybody, be mad at the person who brought this not only on himself, but on the Eagles fanbase.