Chip: DeSean Release Was A Football Decision

Football decision.

That was the term Chip Kelly (as well as owner Jeffrey Lurie) kept going back to when addressing the release of DeSean Jackson for the first time.

Kelly, speaking at the Eagles 18th annual playground build at Prince Hall School in North Philadelphia, suggested the move was about x’s and o’s and not related to off-field behavior or concerns about the receiver’s influence on the locker room.

“It has nothing to do with anything that was ever written in a newspaper article or any off-field behavior from him,” said Kelly. “DeSean was great in the year that I was with him. Wish him nothing but the best in terms of where he is going to be.

“I know he’s down in Washington now, we’ll face him twice a year. I have nothing but good things to say about DeSean.”

Kelly said that Jackson came to practice every day and did what was asked of him. He shot down a report that stated Jackson was insubordinate and got into arguments with his head coach. Said that the wideout’s relationship with receivers coach Bob Bicknell was not an issue.

It was “purely a football decision,” he said.

That is a difficult story to buy. Jackson had 82 catches for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns for the Eagles last season, but it’s in the team’s best interest from a football standpoint to remove him from the equation? That doesn’t quite add up.

“It adds up for us,” said Kelly. “And that’s the most important point.”

Kelly separated the decision from the report detailing Jackson’s alleged gang ties. The team released a statement within an hour of that story breaking that Jackson had been cut.

“That had nothing to do with it. The things that happened were in 2009 and 2011 before I ever got here. And when you read it I don’t know what he did wrong when you read that article.”

So the timing was coincidental?

“I can’t tell you that. The timing was exactly when we got back from the owners meetings.”

The Eagles received no offers for Jackson at the owners meetings, Kelly said, so the decision was made to cut him. He said he was not surprised that there were no suitors, citing Jackson’s hefty contract that was due to pay him around $10 million in 2014. He mentioned the fact that Darrelle Revis — arguably the top corner in the game — got released by the Bucs. Economics, though, did not play a part in the decision to move on from Jackson, he said.

Asked why he was silent on the matter for so long, Kelly said “that’s just not the way I am. I’m not going to have a press conference when we release players from our organization. I’ve never felt that way and I’m never going to do it again.”