ORLANDO, Fla. – Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly said a lot about receiver DeSean Jackson at the NFL owners meetings on Wednesday.
What Kelly did not say could indicate he is ready to part ways with Jackson.
Kelly was given every opportunity to squash trade rumors involving Jackson this offseason. Jackson and Kelly have reportedly clashed since the coach took over last season, and despite a Pro Bowl season, the receiver might be with another team once training camp begins.
All Kelly had to do was say Jackson is going to be on the team, and those reports are false.
Instead, Kelly danced around every question.
Where do you stand with Jackson?
"I’ve talked to DeSean," Kelly said. "I just think when you deal with situations like that, everything we do is player to player, player to coach. We’ve had a good conversation. We’re always going to do what’s best for our football team, but I think he knows where we are and I know where he is. I feel very comfortable."
Do you want him on the team?
"I like DeSean," Kelly said. "DeSean did a really nice job for us. We’re always going to do what’s best for the organization."
Why is this even a discussion after the best season of his career at 27-years-old?
"I don’t know why it’s a discussion," Kelly said. "That’s a question for you guys (media). I’ve had a conversation with him. He knows where he stands with us, and I know where I stand with him."
Since these reports have been out there for a while, why did you wait so long to speak with him?
"I don’t follow what you guys do," Kelly said.
Do you anticipate DeSean being on the roster when the offseason program begins?
"I don’t anticipate anybody being on the roster at that point," Kellly said. "I don’t predict the future. When we get rolling on April 21, we’ll get going. The other thing about April 21 is it’s not mandatory. Who’s there and who isn’t there. I don’t know."
Kelly is just being aloof, right? Maybe he is trying a Jedi mind trick to motivate the receiver. This could all be a ploy?
That devil’s advocate theory sounded great until Kelly was asked if he anticipated quarterback Nick Foles being on the roster.
"I anticipate Nick Foles being here for the next 999 years," Kelly said. "Last year was 1000, so we’re down a year."
Kelly was not willing to say Jackson will be around one more year.
The main reason Kelly cannot say Philadelphia does not want Jackson is because there are no guarantees he can be traded. If he cannot be dealt, Kelly faces dealing with Jackson, who is seemingly unhappy with Kelly and his contract.
In addition, Kelly cannot appear desperate to other NFL teams. Jackson is coming off a career year in which he caught 82 passes for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns. He is slated to earn $10.25 million in 2014, which is not an easy salary to acquire for most teams. Jets owner Woody Johnson said he would be interested in acquiring Jackson at the right price, but no other team has publicized its desire to acquire him.
Of course, no other team wants a tampering charge from the NFL.
Jackson is still on the team, but his future appears in doubt.
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