Concerns about DeSean Jackson’s attitude have always been a concern since he fell into the second round despite an obvious first round talent. Jackson’s never been in trouble with the law and has been selected for three Pro Bowls, but he’s always been a headache to coaches. On Friday, the Philadelphia Eagles purged their lineup of Jackson by releasing him into the barren wilderness of free agency.
Diva receivers being traded isn't unprecedented, therefore the rumors of Jackson being on the trade market weren’t shocking when you take into account his frequent run-ins with authority figures throughout his NFL career. However, nobody imagined that after the best season of his pro career that he’d be flat out released.
In addition to his petulance, malcontent attitude, concerns about his connections off the field also created a difficult decision for the Philadelphia Eagles. Jackson’s only arrest stemmed from marijuana found in his vehicle after getting pulled over for illegally tinted windows, however, the Eagles were concerned about possible gang ties stemming from a tough background in Los Angeles.
A bad attitude, an inconsistent work ethic, missed meetings and a lack of chemistry with head coach Chip Kelly are the reasons, sources told NJ.com. And when the Eagles looked more deeply into why Jackson was missing meetings, they found that his friends were becoming a more powerful — and negative — influence in his life.
Now the Eagles have even more serious concerns — Jackson's continued association with reputed Los Angeles street gang members who have been connected to two homicides since 2010.
Ever since the Aaron Hernandez situation blew up last summer, teams have become more wary of players with connections to shady characters. Jackson doesn’t appear to be headed down the same road as Hernandez, but the off field connections who were influencing him, in addition to his disregard for rules as a veteran team leader was too much for Chip Kelly to ignore.
Even the name of Jackson's music label, Jaccpot Records, has not gone unnoticed by authorities. Police brought it up to Jackson, Crosson said, when he was interviewed in the investigation of the Watson homicide.
The two C's in Jaccpot, cops believed, were symbolic. Crips avoid putting a "C" next to a "K" because in gangspeak, that stands for "Crip Killer." Crosson said Jackson explained the spelling by saying the Internet domain name for Jackpot "was taken."
In combination with his Crip connects, his unwillingness to join Team Chip and buy into Chip Kelly's system was a huge concern heading into his second season as an NFL head coach. With Vick now in New Jersey and Andy Reid in Kansas City, a rift developed between Jackson and Kelly’s coaching regime.
When asked on Wednesday, whether Jackson would remain an Eagle for the 2014 season after a conversation with Jackson, Kelly told the media, “We've had a good conversation, and we're always going to do what's best for the football team."
At that point, the decision appears like it had already been made.
Jackson is actually a solid citizen who has advocated against bullying, but he is a complicated individual with a difficult personality. However, teams will take flyers on his talent for at least a one-year-deal that will force him to play for a long-term deal in 2015.
Jackson isn’t hurting for cash, but losing out on his $10.8 million salary after a safe in his home was burglarized for $250,000 is a blow to his bank account. Allegedly, four teams have already inquired about Jackson. Jackson’s NFL career will survive despite this blow to his reputation. The next step is determining which uniform it will resume in.