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When the Philadelphia Eagles took on the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, they were without the services of their best receiver. According to Les Bowen of Philly.com, Jackson missed a special teams meeting on Saturday morning and was listed as inactive.
Jackson claimed that he slept through his alarm, and that's why he wasn't in attendance.
It's unknown whether dissatisfaction was another root cause behind Jackson missing the meeting, but the 24-year-old receiver has long been unhappy with his contract — he's in the last year of his rookie deal and making just $600,000 in base salary. Team president Joe Banner has said that Jackson is entitled to a contract extension, but confusion regarding the new collective bargaining agreement prevented that from happening.
While it's difficult to excuse any player from missing a meeting without prior notice, you could understand why the Eagles' reasoning wouldn't necessarily wash with Jackson. The Eagles were by far the most aggressive team in free agency once a new CBA was reached, spending big bucks on star players like Nnamdi Asomugha and Cullen Jenkins. Results have been mixed, and the Eagles currently stand at 3-6 after Sunday, right down at the bottom of the NFC East with the plummeting Washington Redskins.
So far this season, Jackson hasn't done much to forward his case on the field -- he's caught just 29 passes for 503 yards and two touchdowns in 2011, and those are not elite receiver numbers. The formerly elite returner fumbled a punt that led to a Chicago Bears touchdown in last Monday's loss. He also caught just two passes on eight targets against Chicago.
"Of course, everybody in this locker room can say there's something they can get better at, so I'm not sitting here saying there's nothing I can get better at, but at the end of the day, I'm putting my best effort up and I'm trying my hardest," Jackson said after that game.
The Eagles probably shouldn't have needed Jackson to beat the moribund Cardinals at home (they ultimately lost 21-17), but the way the team's been playing overall, an "all hands on deck" mentality would serve this team much better, and it's the one thing this team hasn't really enjoyed this season.
- Arizona Cardinals