It's been over a week since the Philadelphia Eagles released star receiver DeSean Jackson. The team still hasn't officially made a public statement as to why they made their decision. It's possible they never will.
With no official reason given, many have been left to speculate as to why the Eagles would make such a shocking move. A number of reasons have been suggested. Some have accused the Eagles for cutting Jackson due to gang ties that emerged last week in a NJ.com report. Others have suggested Jackson wasn't a good teammate. According to a report from CBS Philly, it seems like the latter may have been the case. I strongly suggest you read the CBS Philly report in it's entirety, but here are some highlights:
[...] a number of sources close to and around the team, including current and former players, as well as additional sources within the Eagles revealed was that Jackson was not very well liked by his teammates, was blatantly insubordinate, with temper tantrums cussing out Kelly several times in front of the team, pushed the NFL rookie coach the way "a child would test boundaries," and was more concerned with his rap label than he was about winning football games.
Several other sources also suggested that Jeremy Maclin may have had something to do with Jackson being released, telling Eagles’ management it was either him or Jackson.
Maclin has never publicly spoken out against Jackson, but this doesn't come as a surprise. The night before Jackson was released last week, Maclin was directly asked if he wanted Jackson to return to the Eagles. His answer was less than enthusiastic.
CBS Philly went on to explain more. Bold emphasis is mine.
"The fact is, [Jackson] was a ‘me-guy’ with an attitude problem and [Maclin] is the complete opposite, a team guy, a great character guy you go to war with," said one source. "Funny how [Jackson] has this anti-bully thing and he thought he could push [Kelly] around; he found out otherwise. His being cut had nothing to do with the gang stuff. The team knew it. Everyone knew he had ‘ties.’ Those were his guys. That’s okay. What put him out was his selfishness. He can try and spin it all he wants how he’s ‘a team player.’ He’s not. I’ll put it this way, when it came out last Friday that [Jackson] was released, more than a few guys were happy it happened. They said ‘good riddance.’ He had no real connection with anyone.
"Yes, you can say he was the type that could catch three TDs in a loss—everyone would be down, but you had the impression he was happy, because he got his. It was all about him. A lot of guys thought that way about him. [Kelly] came in here with a plan to get this thing right, and the one major [obstacle] standing in his way was [Jackson]. If we were going to move forward as a team, he had to go. Think about it—did anyone come right out and back him publicly? Not one."
Many have been quick to put the blame on Chip Kelly for Jackson's release. It's hard to believe Jackson would be gone if Kelly really wanted him to stay. It seems like Kelly had little reason to want Jackson to return, however:
You see little kids and how they cry and whine when they don’t get their way, that was D-Jax," another source said. "I don’t think [Jackson] gave [Kelly] the respect he deserved. Kelly tried to reach [Jackson] plenty of times and [Jackson] tuned him out. Then you look at team functions, when everyone is out together at charity things or social stuff. He was the one missing. It was like he was in ‘D-Jax world’ and we just happened to be there.
"With Reid, [Jackson] tried pushing boundaries there, too, but he looked at Reid, I think, much differently than he looked at [Kelly]. Reid came in with an NFL pedigree. He was the guy that drafted [Jackson]. He was the one that called him on draft day and laid the law down right then: [Reid] wouldn’t tolerate any outside interference from anyone. Now you get this college guy [Kelly] and he’s not going to tell [Jackson] what to do. [Kelly] has a vision for this team—and he is a very old-school coach in a lot of ways. But there’s only so much [a coach] can take. [Jackson] was an a—— to [Kelly]."
The report goes on to explain that Jackson's behavior was nothing new. He behaved this way under former head coach Andy Reid. It was just that Reid bothered to put up with Jackson. Kelly gave Jackson a fair chance last year, but at some point enough is enough.
This isn't the first time Jackson's bad behavior has been brought up. Earlier this offseason, when the Jackson speculation was still under the radar, Derrick Gunn noted Jackson was known for his locker room issues. And not just by the Eagles, but around the league.
On more than one occassion, yes.Yes. And that problem with that is... DeSean Jackson doesn't really listen to anybody. Jason Avant was probably the only guy who could get his attention. Over the last several years the Eagles have had a number of ex-players try to talk to DeSean. DeSean Jackson does what DeSean Jackson does and I think that's eventually going to be his downfall. Not just with the Philadelphia Eagles, but in the NFL because the word is out on him. The word is out across the league on DeSean Jackson: "We don't know if he's the kind of guy we want in our locker room. We don't care how talented he is.
Assuming all of this is true, it goes along with what I said today: there's really no one else to blame for this situation than Jackson himself. He's the one that gave the Eagles reason to cut him. I'm sure no NFL locker room is perfect. But there is also a breaking point when it comes to this kind of thing. This wasn't about Jackson not seeing eye to eye with one person. Judging by the comments in this report, these feelings towards Jackson were shared by more than just a select few. By releasing Jackson, the Eagles showed that they're not going to be the team where the teammates run the show.