So it took me a while to finally let it all sink in
When I found out about all this I didn’t know how to feel because I was just that overwhelmed. I stayed away from here or anything concerning sports cause I just couldn’t believe one of my favorite Eagles was gone just like that. It’s still hard to grasp my mind around not seeing him anymore and the way he was let go. In my eyes he is a true Eagle, not was, IS. Djax brought the swag, he symbolized many things of the city of brotherly love and the PHILADELPHIA EAGLES need that. We need his nasty. We need his cocky but back-that-shit up swagger. Most of all, we need his relentless will to get back up and get in someone's face no matter how much bigger they were than his scrawny ass. He never let that impede his ability to make defenses look foolish.
Unfortunately the FO didn’t see the same thing.
I’ve read and heard about the whole locker room cancer rumors, the gang affiliations, the suspect burglary case, the sideline spats with coaches and players and I still think it’s not just one thing that pushed him out. I feel like there’s been a lot concerning him ever since he got here. Even though I loathe what happened and am having a hard time accepting the bitter truth, I’m not blind enough to realize that Desean did pose a threat to the new culture that Chip is inculcating. I’m honestly not sure how much of a hand Chip had himself in Desean’s departure, but perhaps he simply though it was best to not ignore things the way Andy Reid did. We always knew Andy was a player’s coach. Chip is a mastermind that will do what it takes for the team. I admire Chip for following through on his word and doing everything he can to create a winning culture as he did in Oregon.
At the very core, we all yearned for that mentality. In fact, it’s that very mentality that creates great teams and franchises and pedigree winners for years and years to come. I guess being an Eagles fan, I get too attached to some players and it’s hard not to. How could a true Eagles fan NOT revere all the memories Desean has left in our hearts? Honestly, he’s been a link between 2 regimes and has seen the worst and best (at least the best so far under Chip) of both. He was there for just about everything. Even if no one remembers all of his accomplishments and contributions to this team, even someone with severe dementia is going to have a hard time forgetting MM2.
I can only speak for myself when I say that it’s hard for me to really think of anything bad that Djax ever did.Some complain about him having sideline spats with an assistant coach. Jenkins got all up in Reid’s face to the point he was pretty much spitting on him. I have never heard about Desean harboring any ill-will toward a teammate or player. This is an extremely emotional game; players get riled up all the time. Dez Bryant had some embarrassing meltdowns but I don't hear rumors of him being traded or released because of it. I have watched several random practice clips and not once can I recall Desean earning himself a displeased look from Chip or him returning one. I’ve usually seen them having a good conversation and a good time. I understand that that is all I can bank on to presume that he and Chip were on good terms but I really can’t see Chip being the one to truly pull the trigger. I think Howie is the main man behind all this and eventually Chip realized he couldn’t ignore the troubling possibilities to save Desean; after all, that would go against Chip’s mantra in building the program he’s envisioned for this team. He can’t afford to lose command by being a hypocrite and trying to save a player. Andy did that and eventually things broke loose and the chemistry dissipated in that locker room to the point of no return. Chip definitely cannot afford any slip-ups there if he wants to get this team to completely buy into his vision. So I can understand the dilemma he most likely faced. I can’t say this for a fact but Chip has been there to help many players in his coaching career and I just don’t see how Desean hanging with the wrong company would piss off Chip to the point where he had to ostracize him. Desean isn’t incorrigible. If he was, he wouldn’t have busted his ass in last year’s training camp to really prove himself to Chip after getting benched. I think his off-field concerns bothered Howie more than anyone and I also can’t blame him too much for trying to get rid of a possible cancer.
However, I’m bothered in the way he did it. Not only was Desean defamed and humiliated over speculations but the team suffered heavily over it. We got zilch in return other than a major gaping hole in the offense. And we expect 2 WRs coming off injuries and one WR who had an anomaly of a season to fill that? It’s ludicrous. If all these signs were there from the onset, why give Desean a new contract in ‘12? Even if they wanted to move on from him, they could’ve done this much more judiciously in a way that would net the Eagles good compensation in return. Instead we let one of our best WRS EVER to just walk. All over speculation.
There was no proof that Desean was heavily involved some crazy gang shit. He had a rap label and was probably doing what he could to grow in the industry (how many rappers in the past have had gang affiliations for the sake of making a name for themselves?). That doesn’t mean he’s going to commit drive-bys and put everything at stake. It’s easy to think of what could happen. But all these years, all the time he’s been in the league, has he really done anything that makes everyone uncomfortable? I can’t think of anything. This whole gang affiliation or suspicious robbery may just have been an excuse to conceal something much deeper. But whatever it was, it better be something grave because the way the FO handled this debacle will never be forgotten unless it brings positive dividends for this team sometime soon. If not, then many bitter feelings will remain towards Howie and his crew.
If Chip really was involved in removing Djax, then it does anger me a bit. Chip always said, "I don’t deal with hypotheticals." All the possibilities that may entail on keeping Desean and resulted in getting rid of him, they are a bit hypothetical because there’s no real proof that his gang association would tear apart the team or bring harm to the franchise. It’s just precaution but that precaution may come at a staggering price. A player of Desean’s caliber doesn’t just grow on trees. Many WRs post great 40 times at the combine but in-game speed is much different and Desean knows how to bring it out and exploit defenses and put a fear into them. Hell, defenses have to change things up JUST to account for Desean’s ability to go deep. That alone works in our favor. Now that very advantage is gone and so is a proven pro-bowler. All over much speculation and hypotheticals. The only thing I do buy is Chips desire to build a locker room that completely believes in his system. Still even that concept is flawed because Desean definitely helped spread the offense out like Chip would want; he ran more different routes last season than he ever did under Reid. At the end of the day, Desean helps you win and I just don’t see how you would be willing to part ways with such a weapon.
For all the talk about Desean’s off the field concerns, I have a hard time believing he would do anything that would truly hurt this team or his own life or someone else’s. It’s easy to sit here now and point out the what-ifs. It’s easy to say that he was affiliated with gangs and he would’ve perhaps gone on to do something harrowing a la Aaron Hernandez. It’s easy to say he was a locker room cancer and that he was having a negative influence on the young guys. Unfortunately the locker room theory may the only concrete one. Perhaps Desean wasn’t the best of teammates but it still doesn’t explain why he had to be removed this way. There have been much greater locker room cancers before but you don’t see them walk the plank like that.
The old cliché hindsight is 20-20 seems to ring loudly around these parts; people that once supported and admired Desean now point the finger at him without knowing the truth. They’re doing whatever it takes to make the pain easier to swallow. They’re trying to throw him under the bus and defame him now that he’s gone. Funny thing is, the people that do it more than others are actually the ones in greatest denial of what he meant to this team. Those who can so calmly say we don’t need him or he’s easily replaceable will see for themselves in due time the intangibles he brings. I’ll digress for a bit, but I remember the first time Foles stepped into his first game and the way he stood in that pocket tall and strong and just fired off without worrying about being hit; I could see at that point that he just had "it" and that "it" is something you can never teach a player. Many that ridiculed Foles starting for us and looking for something better and now coming to terms that he just might be our franchise QB. Desean was similar. He’s just special in the things he does and you never know when he’s going to surprise us next. He was no longer a one-trick pony. You don’t remain a one-trick pony and stay popular in the league for this long nor put a scare in defenses the moment you line up on the LOS after all these years.
I hate that he’s gone. I’m sure that Chip and FO had a real plan behind all this and that some good may come out of all this, but right now all I know is that one my favorite players, a game-changing player, got kicked to the curb and we got nothing in return for it. It hurts and I don’t have to like this decision. Maybe I never will and maybe I’ll hold this against the FO, especially if we never really prosper from it and Desean continues to do his thing elsewhere without getting into the possible trouble that was being extrapolated here. I know it’s a team game and I pray that Chip will build his regime even stronger with Desean gone because winning is the only way to really move past this. I would feel the same for any other significant Eagle, not just Desean but he did some things that etched themselves in our Eagle memory. I’ll still rock his jersey as if he was here, because in essence he hasn’t really left if we never forget all he did for us.
Thanks Desean Jackson. You will definitely be missed by me and hopefully many other Eagles fans and never forgotten. MM2 will always be remembered mainly because of you. Wish you the best of luck elsewhere and I hope you prove everyone that you got a good head on your shoulders and will continue torturing defenses.