I know everyone is tired and ready to move on from talking about former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson, but an interesting nugget came up this week. Star running back LeSean McCoy talked to NFL.com's Albert Breer and admitted Jackson's release helped the team in a specific regard. Via Breer:
"The whole DeSean Jackson thing, that helped out, to be honest, in making all the other guys aware. It's all possible. They'll cut one of your best guys if (he's) not buying in. On any team -- any team -- you look at that, and as a player, you can look at it from so many different sides, but no matter how good you are, you gotta follow these guidelines. And if you don't, you could be gone. ... You gotta buy in."
McCoy was asked about this comment after minicamp practice on Wednesday. He had the following to say.
"No matter how good a player is, it’s a team, and if you can’t buy in, anything’s possible. I’m not sure what the rest of the team, they took out of it. I was speaking for myself. A player like that who had done so much for my franchise, even in the year that Chip was here, the stuff he did. Some players, some teams, might think he’s producing on the field, that’s the only thing that matters. Small things I take out of everything, and that was what I took out of that."
These comments are interesting because they seem to contain a sentiment of acceptance. McCoy's original reaction to Jackson's release was a little different. He didn't seem to understand exactly why Jackson was released, but he knew there was a reason.
"I heard the rumors, but I was surprised for sure. I mean, he’s probably one of our biggest playmakers that we had. He can make plays at any given time. He can control the game. He’s probably the biggest deep threat in the NFL. To lose a guy like that is definitely tough. He’ll definitely be missed. Obviously, every move is made for a reason. The guys upstairs made the decision for a reason. When you do things like that, you have backup plans in your mind. You don’t let one of the top wide receivers go and then not have anything to back it up. I’m sure coach (Chip) Kelly and (general manager) Howie (Roseman), they’ll be able to take care of it."
In any case, McCoy's comments strongly suggest that Jackson wasn't "buying in" to Kelly's program. Of course, this isn't anything that hasn't already been suggested. While Jackson doesn't have the chance to rectify that behavior in Philadelphia, the rest of the players that remain do. That includes McCoy, who some have speculated could be released in similar fashion to Jackson after the 2014 season given the star RB's increased salary and off the field behavior.
It would be foolish to think the Eagles released Jackson solely to "send a message", but there's no doubt that message has been received. Chip Kelly isn't messing around. Buy in or you're out.