Is Chip Kelly’s ego the real deciding factor behind DeSean Jackson’s release from the Eagles? ESPN.com’s Jeffri Chadiha seems to think so.
“[Kelly] seems very much like a man used to enjoying his power and wielding it however he sees fit,” Chadiha recently wrote in a story examining the fallout from the Eagles’ decision to part ways with their star wide receiver.
“The idea that a talent like [Jackson] can be replaced easily is ludicrous at best. Kelly's apparent belief that one player doesn't dictate how successfully his fast-paced offense operates is an even sillier notion.”
The Eagles released Jackson on March 28 after a career-season in which the wideout caught 82 passes for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns.
Kelly and Eagles general manager Howie Roseman have not spoken publicly about the decision to release Jackson. Instead, reports about the receiver’s attitude or the company he keeps have led to conjecture about why the decision was made. The most notable story being a report from NJ.com that linked DeSean to a Los Angeles street gang.
Until we hear otherwise, Chadiha continued, “it's best to assume Kelly's ego had as much to do with [the release] as Jackson's alleged misbehavior.”
The Eagles gave new contracts to wide receivers Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin in the offseason, and also traded for former Saints running back Darren Sproles. Whether or not DeSean's absence will be missed remains to be seen.
“This is the situation that Kelly created for himself and it's doubtful he's sweating it right now,” Chadiha wrote. “He's so arrogant that he's felt no need to talk publicly about Jackson's release.”
As the Eagles’ brass remains silent, more and more reports about Jackson’s standing in the locker room have come to light.
A recent one from Joseph Santoliquito of CBS stated that Jackson was “not very well liked by his teammates” and “was blatantly insubordinate.”
Eagles running back LeSean McCoy, however, recently told Les Bowen of the Daily News that Jackson’s release came as a surprise and indicated there is no reason for Eagles players to be happy the receiver is gone.
“Anybody [on the team] that tells you they're happy about it, I don't know how honest that would be,” McCoy said. “It is a surprise.”
McCoy said he never saw Jackson cursing out Kelly in front of the team, and shot down the notion that the receiver did not get along with his Eagles teammates.
Kelly and Roseman may never open up about the thought process behind Jackson’s release, and we may never find out the truth about DeSean’s status with his former teammates.
One thing, however, remains clear: If the offense isn’t as explosive in the upcoming season, Kelly and Roseman are going to hear about it. And Eagles fans are not likely to put up with another bout of the silent treatment.
“Kelly had the power to win a clash with a superstar after only one season in the NFL,” wrote Chadiha. “Now comes the harder part: proving that wasn't the first major mistake of his professional coaching career.”
On the other hand, if Kelly and Roseman win a Super Bowl in Philadelphia, the DeSean move will be looked at in a much different light.
Pete Carroll, who just won a Super Bowl with the Seahawks, had a successful transition from the college game to the pros. Writers once questioned his move, Chadiha included, but even questionable calls can prove wise over time.