Over the last month or so the rumors have been swirling all over Eagle nation about the possibility of DeSean Jackson possibly being traded or released. The speculation ran rapid amongst Eagle fans, sports talk radio, and national analysts. Most fans including myself couldn’t understand why the Eagles would actively shop a 27 year old wide receiver in his prime coming off a career season. Finally a move was made on Friday when the Eagles abruptly released Jackson about 15 minutes after an article surfaced on NJ.com speculating about Jackson’s potential affiliation with gang members. Was it a coincidence the Eagles made the announcement minutes after this article was released? It’s quite possible but we don’t know for sure. At the time of this article being written it’s still quite early in the analysis as to exactly why the Eagles released Jackson but more and more rumors and stories have been leaking out into the media as the day has unfolded.
When I first heard the news I didn’t really know what to think. So much has been written about DeSean’s possible gang affiliations that I really became taken back a little about all of it. Sure DeSean is a football player and football is a form of entertainment but at the end of the day if any of what has been written about him and his lifestyle is true than you need to look at it all from a different perspective and remove the football aspect from the way you’re thinking about the situation. According to the NJ.com article DeSean is allegedly associated with a few gang members who have been linked to multiple murders in LA. That alone right there is heavy stuff and real life stuff that puts the football aspect of this story on the backburner. At the moment none of it is confirmed and DeSean himself did release a statement Friday afternoon stating that he has never been part of a gang.
With that said it would be easy for me to sit here and say DeSean Jackson is a gangster and is associated with murders and that’s why he was released but the fact is nothing is confirmed yet so let’s start with the football side of the story which is the positive about Jackson first and foremost. What was it about his athletic abilities that drove us the fans to him? He was clearly an electrifying wide receiver in Eagle green for 6 seasons. I remember his first game with the Eagles in week 1 against the Rams and Donovan McNabb went deep early in that game to Jackson and right out of the gate we knew he would be something special. Sure he ran his mouth and was cocky on the field but I actually backed him on that sort of behavior because the Eagles at that time needed some swagger. Jackson gave this team some spunk and the great thing about it all was that he could back up his talk with his speed and great athletic ability.
Who can forget his dramatic game winning punt return against the Giants up at the Meadowlands back in 2010. That moment is without a doubt one of the greatest moments in Eagle history. His stats over his Eagle career are out of this world. In his second season in 2009 he became the first player in league history to be voted to the Pro Bowl in two positions (receiver, return specialist). That season he also became just the 3rd player in NFL history with at least 8 touchdowns of 50 or more yards in one season. Eventually he became one of only 5 players in league history to have at least 900 receiving yards in his first 5 seasons. In 2010 he became the first player in 69 years to have at least one receiving, one rushing, and one return touchdown in his first 3 seasons. Then this past season he tied his personal best with 9 touchdown catches and 1,332 receiving yards which ranked second most in team history for a single season.
But at the end of the day the stats meant nothing to the Eagles. The fact he can stretch the field against any defense and open the field up for other players like Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper, LeSean McCoy meant nothing to the Eagles. Chip Kelly and company clearly have seen something more than what we’re all seeing. Jackson is without a doubt an elite offensive weapon and he may possibly get picked up by another team. Just hours after being released it was reported that at least 6 teams were interested in signing DeSean. Now some of that could just be his agent talking trying to drum up conversation about his client but I’m sure teams who are considering DeSean will do their homework and make sure he’s a right fit for their organization on and off the field prior to reaching out to his agent.
Then there’s also the speculation about his lifestyle off the field. Many believe more information will surface over the coming weeks about DeSean’s lifestyle and how it had an effect on his status with the team. It’s been reported that DeSean had friction with head coach Chip Kelly and during a game in Minnesota this past season he was seen in a verbal altercation with the Eagles wide receiving coach. Jackson also has been rumored to fall asleep during team meetings or show up late during his only season with Chip Kelly. Maybe the Eagles didn’t want that type of behavior rubbing off on the young guys they’ve recently drafted. But still would that behavior be enough for a team to release a dynamic wide receiver in the prime of his career coming off his best statistical season? I think not and that’s why I believe some time over the next few weeks another shoe will drop on this story.
I believe the saga of DeSean Jackson is far from over. So many questions still need to be answered. How will his departure affect the future of the Eagles? Will they be able to find another wide receiver to replace his production? Will he end up back in the league with another team? Will the rumors about his gang affiliations be confirmed as fact? All I do know for sure that as an Eagle fan I will sorely miss seeing him on the field and wearing his jersey on Sundays. His dynamic play making ability was one of a kind and I’m glad I had the opportunity to witness it. But IF the stories of his off the field lifestyle are confirmed true than in that case I fully support the Eagles for making this decision. Only time will tell who’s telling the truth in all of this so stay tuned folks.