Former Eagles safety Brian Dawkins made an appearance on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia on Wednesday to discuss the release of DeSean Jackson. While Dawkins has not been a member of the team since early 2009, he has been around the organization since retiring in 2011 and has frequently visited with coaches and players. Having said that, Dawkins likely has his finger on the pulse of the team and their thinking.
Jackson's release has led to an emphatically negative reaction from the fanbase, much like Dawkins' exodus from Philadelphia five years ago. As a player who has left for another team against his wishes and someone who has always been a favorite of the fans, Dawkins' perspective is valuable in this case. He was a teammate of Jackson's during the latter's rookie year and the former's final season in Philadelphia.
Dawkins made two statement during the interview that seem to shed light on the real motivation behind the Eagles moving on from the three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver, who was coming off a career year. His first was based on what led to the release in general:
"This is not something that all of a sudden had the gang affiliation thing tied to it and that was the thing the Eagles looked at to say, ‘You know what? This is the thing we’re allow him to walk for.’ No, it was all the other things that have happened over the time that he’s been here and the things he has not corrected in his character, some of the things that he does within the building with coaches and the like they were concerned about."
His second striking comment was about being a professional athlete:
"It’s being a professional, it’s being able to be counted on to be with your team, do what you’re supposed to do. Not skate around the corner, the cut corners, not doing some of the things that he’s allegedly been doing."
While those are in no way damning statements, they do lead to some insight that has rarely been shared by the local or national media. Dawkins may be wrong about how much the "gang affiliation" played a part in this public relations nightmare, but the Eagles have not yet clarified why they have moved on. Dawkins still has former teammates on the roster (Brent Celek, Trent Cole, Todd Herremans and Jon Dorenbos along with coaches Duce Staley and Tra Thomas) as well as young players that looked up to and bonded with him since he has been around the team (Earl Wolff and Vinny Curry). It is safe to say he is plugged into the team.