Stop me if you’ve heard this “breaking news” already, but Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson has been released from the team. DeSean Jackson wore out his welcome in so many unimaginable ways that the team decided to release their star receiver despite no immediate need to move forward with this decision. While many Philadelphia Eagles fans are understandably upset that the team discarded one of their top offensive weapons, a realistic viewpoint of the situation dictates that the Eagles were never going to get anything for Jackson in the trade market. Outside of the simple fact that any team that would have successfully traded for Jackson would have had to pay his 2014 base salary of $10,250,000, there was also the potential for further debate as to any contract extension that Jackson’s camp felt was deserving to him after his banner 2013-14 campaign. Moving forward, there is a plethora of routes that the Eagles can run (subtle jab) now that the team is without their leading statistical receiver from a year ago. What is abundantly clear however, and what needs to be understood amongst both the casual and fanatic members of the fan-base, is that the Philadelphia Eagles did not cut DeSean Jackson on a whim, nor did they reach this critical determination without doing their due diligence on all matters both on and off the field.
A common misconception regarding NFL players is that they’re thugs, prima donnas, or even a combination of both. An article that was released Friday morning from NJ.com has been perhaps the most referenced source for why the Eagles did what they did, but this is only a fraction of the rationale for releasing a wide receiver that set career highs last season in nearly every statistical category. The aforementioned article paints DeSean Jackson as a thug, a player affiliated with Los Angeles gang members, and as an overall bad person. While it’s not my job to refute nor prove the accuracy of this article, it’s important to always take information with a grain of salt until each and every fact is released from all involved parties. Do I believe that DeSean Jackson has friends in low places? Sure. Everyone has friends or knows people that might not exactly be the best influence on future endeavors. But this does not get a player of DeSean Jackson‘s caliber cut from a football team that won the NFC East a season ago and is on the verge of potentially competing in arguably the best conference in football in the 2014-2015 season. NFL franchises such as the Philadelphia Eagles are not cutting DeSean Jackson to spite the fans, nor are they doing this without knowing facts that will most likely remain unknown to the public for a long time.
A bad attitude, an inconsistent work ethic, missed meetings and a lack of chemistry with head coach Chip Kelly were the original reasons for his fall from grace, sources told NJ.com
I leave Eliot Shorr-Parks’ and A.J. Perez’s article with that key quote. ESPN talking heads and media pundits worldwide are going to have a lot to talk about in the upcoming weeks regarding DeSean Jackson’s departure from the Philadelphia Eagles, and much of the discussion, debate, or just plain banter is going to focus on one word: Thug. Once again, the quoted piece is perhaps the most telling thirty plus words of the entire article. Because as a professional sports fan, emphasis on PROFESSIONAL, I expect every member of the 53 man roster to conduct himself with a sense of professionalism and code of conduct that is deserving of the stature acquired when wearing the shield on that jersey. The company that a player, coach, or executive keeps outside of the team is his or her business for the most part. What does matter however is when negative behavior or outside influences affect what takes place between the hash marks on Sundays. That is what we as journalists, fans, and people must squarely focus on when discussing the Philadelphia Eagles’ recent actions.