Rating the Rumor: Eagles likely to pursue DeSean Jackson

Rating the Rumor: Eagles likely to pursue DeSean Jackson

The seeds of DeSean Jackson reuniting with the Eagles were planted way back in October on a conference call with reporters in the week leading up a game against Washington. Since then, the story has taken on sort of a life of its own, with perhaps the strongest report coming from Tim McManus for ESPN, writing in December that the Eagles are likely to pursue the three-time Pro Bowl selection.

For the first time since his unceremonious release from the Eagles, Jackson is about to become a free agent. The person responsible for his departure, Chip Kelly, is nowhere to be found. Jackson never wanted to leave in the first place, and there are people within the organization who probably like the guy.

Meanwhile, the Eagles have a clear need at receiver, particularly somebody who can stretch the field. And although Jackson is now 30, he went over 1,000 yards receiving again in 2016 and has shown few signs of slowing down.

Everything about Jackson returning to the Eagles makes sense… on the surface. It’s when we begin to look at the foundation for this rumor that there are some obvious cracks.

Keep in mind, the speculation is almost entirely media fueled. It’s not as if Jackson has been running around telling anybody who will listen that he wants to come back. He was asked about the possibility during that conference call, and again at a postgame press conference in December, and once more by ESPN’s Adam Schefter on his podcast. And each time the question was raised, Jackson has sort of shrugged and said anything is possible.

Sure, anything is possible – for the right amount of money. If the price is right, Jackson will remain in Washington, or check out Tampa Bay, or sign with San Francisco and move a little closer to home. These are all plausible destinations for Jackson. If we’re being honest about it, each of those destinations is arguably more plausible than re-signing with the Eagles, for simple reason.

The salary cap.

The biggest hurdle the Eagles must clear before signing any of these top free-agent receivers, be it Jackon, Alshon Jeffery, Kenny Stills or anybody we haven’t made it to yet. The organization doesn’t have the money to make a huge splash in free agency at the moment. Even if the Eagles clear a few contracts between now and March 9, it’s going to be tight.

A veteran of nine NFL seasons, this is almost certainly Jackson’s last opportunity to cash in with a huge contract. It’s not as if the Eagles offer an especially great chance of winning the Super Bowl in the next year or two as a reason to accept a hometown discount, either.

That doesn’t mean the Eagles aren’t interested, or Jackson isn’t interest. That doesn’t even mean it absolutely won’t happen. It simply means for all the discussion about Jackson returning, it’s no more likely than his signing anywhere else. In fact, it’s less likely.

The Eagles will come away with a wide receiver in free agency. That much is almost certain. The idea that they have a leg up in negotiations with Jackson, on the other hand, is almost certainly false.

Rating the Rumor: Good luck with that

Even on honeymoon, Jon Dorenbos performs wild magic trick with coin

Even on honeymoon, Jon Dorenbos performs wild magic trick with coin

Magic never stops.

Not even on Jon Dorenbos' honeymoon.

The Eagles' long snapper and magic enthusiast is enjoying picturesque Bora Bora with his wife Annalise.

Still, fresh off his wedding and surrounded by water way too blue, Dorenbos wasn't about to stop entertaining us as he posted this crazy coin trick on his Instagram account.

Bora Bora Magic - I love this move. @apollorobbins showed me this 15 years ago. #honeymoon

A post shared by Jon Dorenbos (@jondorenbos) on

Pretty darn cool — and, seriously, how does he do it?

And don't worry, Dorenbos is clearly having a great time on the honeymoon, not just blowing our minds with cool magic.

Amazing. #honeymoon #paradise

A post shared by Jon Dorenbos (@jondorenbos) on

How Jim Thome got his batting stance thanks to Charlie Manuel and 'The Natural'

How Jim Thome got his batting stance thanks to Charlie Manuel and 'The Natural'

If there's anyone in the world I could sit next to for hours and listen to talk about baseball it would be former Phillies manager and World Champion of baseball Charlie Manuel.

Charlie is still very involved in the Phillies organization to this day and we're lucky enough to have 45 minutes of his time talking ball with longtime Phillies scribe Jim Salisbury.

Those two know the Phillies just about as well as anybody, so there's plenty of meat on the bone to chew on. The duo chatted for a recent episode of Sully's "At The Yard" podcast.

The story that caught my ear the most was Charlie's telling of how Jim Thome came to have that somewhat-goofy stance before he hits. It was a timing mechanism that Manuel stumbled upon in the strangest of ways.

This was when both Charlie and Jim were working for a Cleveland Indians' affiliate in the minors. 

"We were playing in Scranton and it was a Phillies triple-A team at the time. I kept thinking of a timing mechanism of some kind, a waggle or something, what Thome could do with his bat where he wouldn't tense up, where it would help him to relax and everything."

"I came into our locker room early," Manuel said. "I didn't let my players turn the TV on after a certain time. I came through the clubhouse that day, they had 'The Natural' on. I told 'em to turn it off. Some of the players said, 'Hey, Charlie, we're watching The Natural can we watch the end of The Natural? I said, 'Not really, what's the rule?'

"I saw Robert Redford standing there pointing the bat with one hand, bringing it back. I looked over at Thome, I said, 'you can finish watching the movie. From now on that's going to be your load.' I took him down in the cage and worked with him. The game started and the Phillies had a left-handed pitcher named [Kyle] Abbott. He was pitching that day. I told Jimmy, 'From now on that's your stance.' He gets up there the first time up, Abbott throws him a breaking ball away and he hit a home run to left center... I mean a longways. He come up the next time he hit another one to right center. I think he had three hits that day."

"That's a true story," Manuel added.

It sounds to good to be true. So we did a little research and Thome has told the same tale on a television special out in Chicago last summer.

"We were in Scranton and I was a guy who held the bat still and would go from a standstill and swing," Thome explained. "(Charlie) was watching The Natural and he saw that (Hobbs) kind of had this little wiggle to his stance, and I remember the day. We went out the next day, we worked early and he said 'Do me a favor and try holding the bat out there (pointing towards the pitcher) and get a little rhythm with your swing.' And from that day I never looked back. The following day we played a doubleheader and I hit two home runs."

You can listen to the whole podcast with Jim Salisbury and Charlie Manuel right here.