Chip Kelly hadn't made any public comments about releasing receiver DeSean Jackson until Monday, when he said the move was made for "purely football reasons," according to the New York Post's Bart Hubbuch.
Two quick thoughts ...
1. Of course Kelly had to say that was the reason.
2. Just because he says it doesn't mean any sane person should believe it.
This isn't about Kelly making everyone who listens out to be a fool. The team would be stepping in some stuff it wants no part of if it said publicly that Jackson was cut because he was disruptive in the locker room or the NJ.com story that discussed possible gang connections or whatever the reason was. To say that Jackson was cut for "purely football reasons" is just taking the simple route out of the situation, letting the story die, and it's the smart move. And heck, the Eagles somehow got the NFL to publicly go along with that excuse. NFL senior vice president of law and labor policy Adolpho Birch said last week, according to Philly.com, "I think we are comfortable that the decisions that were made on both ends were football decisions." That the league publicly stated one of the best receivers in the NFL got cut simply for football reasons has to make the rest of the players feel like they're going to be treated fairly in the future.
Jackson was not cut for football reasons. Again, I know why Kelly has to say that (and obviously the NFL "believed" that excuse for the same reason, to avoid fanning the flames of the story or sidestep a fight from the NFL Players Association, which I'm sure is working hard to get to the bottom of all this), but it's not true. Jackson had 82 catches for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns for a NFC East championship team last year. If he was cut for football reasons, then 98 percent of the league could be cut today. Jackson is elite, in his prime, and anyone who has ever watched a football game knows the Eagles are better off with him, strictly from on-the-field performance. "Purely football reasons," if you will. The Eagles had their reasons to release him, whatever they really were, reasons that had nothing to do with his production.
So Kelly and the Eagles said what they had to say, and that's fine, as long as they're clear that everyone involved knows they're feeding us a lie.
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