Two days after the Eagles deactivated receiver DeSean Jackson for missing a special-teams meeting, Jackson was interviewed by NFL Network’s Michael Irvin regarding the situation.
Contrary to reports that he completely missed the meeting, Jackson contends that he showed up 20 minutes late. Jackson acknowledged that this had happened once before during his time with the team.
Most significantly, Jackson claims that other players have shown up late for meetings or missed meetings, and they weren’t deactivated.
“Honestly, I’ve never seen coach [Andy] Reid do anything like that,” Jackson tells Irvin. “I’ve never seen him bench anybody for missing a meeting.”
Apart from the events resulting in his deactivation, Jackson seems to be disturbed by his unresolved contract situation. Writes Irvin in an item appearing at NFL.com: “The fact that the team spent so aggressively in building the ‘Dream Team’ clearly has weighed on DeSean. DeSean revealed that he hasn’t been able to be his fun-loving self this season because of the distractions over his contract. Now, we’re not talking a T.O. situation here, but he sees the guys around him being taken care of, and he believes he’s put in the work and it should be his turn.”
But here’s the reality. Apart from cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and the new contract for quarterback Mike Vick, the Eagles didn’t really spend “aggressively.”
Jackson also told Irvin that “rumors” about people with whom Jackson associates off the field have kept the Eagles from making a long-term commitment. Even if that’s true (and I’ve got a gut feeling it isn’t), the solution is simple: Quit associating with those people until getting a new contract.
Jackson’s situation ultimately comes down to his abilities, the use of those abilities, and leverage. Jackson currently has no leverage, and he’s not using whatever abilities he may still have. After the season, if the Eagles use the franchise tag on Jackson, he can withhold services for all of the offseason, training camp, and preseason without penalty. That would give him plenty of leverage. (Of course, the Eagles could rescind the franchise tag at any time, making Jackson a free agent.)
Frankly, Jackson needs to quit worrying about the contract he doesn’t have, or he’s never going to get it. Given Howard Eskin’s contention that Jackson owes a significant amount of money to his agent, it’s easy to understand why Jackson may be distracted. Still, he needs to find a way to put that out of his mind, and to focus on producing like he did in 2009 and 2010.