When it comes to DeSean Jackson’s departure from the Eagles, few clear details have emerged. On the day his release came, in the immediate wake of a report suggesting gang ties via carefully-selected words that bore the oily fingerprints of a lawyer specializing in the defense of defamation lawsuits, the Eagles provided no details.
Overall, the Eagles have said nothing specific about the reasons for the decision. Not even, “All he does is catch touchdowns.”
A week after the release happened, some details emerged. But not from the Eagles. At least not officially.
An item posted on the local CBS website quotes unnamed sources who talked about the things that allegedly happened behind closed doors. Most of the new information was fairly obvious stuff, given the widespread understanding that coach Chip Kelly cut Jackson because Jackson wasn’t willing to buy in completely to Kelly’s approach.
“You see little kids and how they cry and whine when they don’t get their way, that was D-Jax,” one unnamed source told CBS Philly. “I don’t think [Jackson] gave [Kelly] the respect he deserved. Kelly tried to reach [Jackson] plenty of times and [Jackson] tuned him out.”
That same day came Jackson’s interview with Stephen A. Smith of ESPN, who showed appropriate gratitude for the exclusive! by serving up an arsenal of slo-pitch softballs. Which meant that the promise from Jackson’s camp that the interview would “clear everything up” wasn’t fulfilled.
There was no probing of the things Jackson may have said or done that may have caused Chip Kelly or anyone else with the team to choose to move on. No mildly incredulous recognition that something had to have happened in the two years after the team signed him to a deal that already had paid out $18 million. No sense that Jackson may be in any way to blame for the Eagles’ decision to part ways with a guy who had a a career year in 2013.
Only two issues came up about DeSean’s own behavior. First, he denied flashing a gang sign at Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall during a 2013 regular-season game. Second, DeSean admitted that he has been late to meetings, and that he has missed “probably” only one meeting during his six-year career. (Then again, that’s old news.)
While the whole truth regarding the decision to cut Jackson may never be known, it’s clear that the head coach — who has final say over the roster — determined after a year with Jackson that he didn’t merit $10.5 million for 2014, and that the Eagles would be better off by spending that money elsewhere. It’s also clear that the head coach hopes to not inflame a delicate situation by offering a quote or a quip that could make Jackson even more determined to prove Kelly wrong in 2014. If, as Kelly sure believes, Jackson doesn’t get it, it’s far better for the Eagles that he continues to not get it, since they’ll now play him twice per year.
Moving forward, the question becomes whether there’s anyone in Washington with the ability to make Jackson get it. By giving him $16 million fully guaranteed on signing, the Redskins already have told Jackson, in a roundabout way, that he already gets it.
Which means that, sooner or later, the Redskins likely will be getting some of what Kelly got.