By now, anybody that has not heard about the messy divorce between the Philadelphia Eagles and DeSean Jackson is living under a rock. For a franchise to cut one of its best players, coming off a career-year and in his prime, is a clear message — be part of the team or find work elsewhere. The Eagles decided on the latter, and nobody understands that more than LeSean McCoy.
While reports of Jackson’s ties with gang members may or may not be accurate, it was clear that Kelly has zero tolerance for any player who will not buy into his philosophy, no matter who they are. On the outside, it seems ludicrous to cut a player coming off career-highs in receptions and receiving yards, as well as another pro-bowl season. However, Kelly felt that Jackson brought more negative influences than positive.
Let’s put this into perspective — nobody really knows the ultimate reason why Jackson was released, which leads many to think he was cut for multiple reasons. Kelly implemented a new sports-science program — what if Jackson was the one player on the roster not participating in the program? Kelly is big on team chemistry on and off the field — what if Jackson was the one guy not to show up at team functions outside the stadium?
While these issues may seem minuscule to outsiders, successful NFL franchises thrive on chemistry from the top of the organization, all the way to the bottom. If Jackson really is the one player secluding himself from team activities, this move was a no-brainer.
Kelly may not have intended to send a message to his team, but McCoy tells NFL.com that a message was received, and that none of his Philadelphia teammates are taking anything for granted now, or in the future. Letting a player of Jackson’s caliber go to a division-rival in the Washington Redskins is borderline mind-boggling. However, Kelly is not your conventional coach. He goes with his gut, and his gut told him Jackson was a bad seed.
The pressure is now even greater for the Eagles during the 2014 season. Anything short of another NFC East title will be a big disappointment, and you better believe that anytime Philadelphia loses a game, there will be whispers of the name DeSean Jackson.