If you were to believe that head coach Jay Gruden didn’t find any red flags surrounding wide receiver DeSean Jackson, then you are an absolute diehard fan of the Washington Redskins or you were born yesterday. If you were born yesterday, kudos for being able to read so quickly.
The Jackson saga became the biggest story of the 2014 offseason, as the brass of the Philadelphia Eagles seemed to change their minds by the hour on whether or not they were going to keep the speedy receiver. Everything from gang affiliations to a poor attitude were brought up as reasons for Jackson’s release, but the wide receiver was finally told that the Eagles wanted to move in a new direction. Surprising no one, the 27-year-old receiver quickly found a new job.
The talent of Jackson made his release very shocking. With his incredible speed, Jackson had the best year of his career in 2013 with 1,332 receiving yards, five games with 100 or more receiving yards and nine touchdowns. The Redskins made a huge upgrade by signing him, but Gruden and the organization stating that due diligence didn’t find any red flags on Jackson is preposterous.
The first huge red flag surrounding Jackson is the fact that the Eagles would release one of the most explosive playmakers in the NFL. The one fact that holds true in professional football is that if you are talented, you will have a place to play. The fact that Jackson is one of the most talented receivers in the league and he was still let go shows that there were underlying issues off of the field. Whether it was because of reported gang affiliations, a poor work ethic or a disrespectful attitude, the Redskins have to be seriously concerned over why a player who had the best season of his career would be cut from a team.
While it is noble that the new wide receiver for the Redskins has his own charity foundation, it is concerning that he also has a record company. Several athletes are involved in ventures outside of football, but the music business is very demanding and time consuming. It is also notorious for being filled with seedy characters. One of his supposed artists was charged with murder, and it must be a little disconcerting that this is one way Jackson spends his free time, whether he is actively involved in the day to day operations or not.
Finally, the fact that he went to a club with other players his first day in D.C. was a clear lack of judgement. Even if his teammates invited him out and it was their idea, he should have politely declined. Any number of negative consequences could have resulted from his trip out, and Jackson should have politely said no in favor of a more low-key setting. A player in the news for a potentially checkered past visiting a night club did not help to improve Jackson’s image.
Hopefully Jackson can prove who he really is with a new team and put all these issues behind him, but the Redskins are obviously downplaying the concern the team must have had for the wide receiver with a questionable past.