Many rumors flew around about why the Philadelphia Eagles cut receiver DeSean Jackson, who was coming off a big season in the prime of his career. During most of that time, even after Washington signed Jackson, it was hard to find a former Eagles teammate that publicly defended him.
But as more was written ripping Jackson, quoting unnamed Eagles sources, a couple of Eagles went on the record to say that some of the claims weren't true.
CBS Philly had an explosive story last week that stated, through some of his former teammates and other team sources, that Jackson was a malcontent and cussed out coach Chip Kelly in front of the team. Running back LeSean McCoy told Philadelphia media, including CSN Philly, that he never saw that happen.
“I’ve never seen that,” McCoy said. “I’ve never seen the two of them get into it. Coach Kelly, the good thing I will say about him, is his understanding. If you have an issue or problem he seems to always work it out.”
Then safety Kurt Coleman, who signed with the Vikings this week, went on Sirius XM Radio and specifically wondered why people were assassinating Jackson's character.
“I think Philadelphia is going to miss him big time,” Coleman said on Sirius XM Radio, via PhillyMag.com. “I find it troubling to hear some of the stories — and I don’t know who is really putting them out there. I thought DeSean was a good guy in the locker room. He was someone I could talk to and could relate to.
"Did he kind of do his own thing? Yeah. But we kind of all do our own thing in our own way. But when it came game time I would talk to him every game and I would ask him, 'Is 10-mode on?' And there was no question. He would give 100 percent. He would take those big hits for the team. And he was one of those guys that you wanted to play every Sunday because the explosiveness, the X-factor that he brought to a team is [unmatched]. I think Philadelphia is going to miss him."
That's a specific description of Jackson as a teammate, and Coleman brings up a good point: Who is putting this out there? And why?
Motive has to be considered with anonymous character assassinations. That's why some of the most extreme and anonymous criticism of draft prospects like Teddy Bridgewater and Jadeveon Clowney are dubious (and, from a journalism standpoint, irresponsible at best). Why would teams that dislike those players so much put their deficiencies out there? Wouldn't they want teams ahead of them in the draft to take players they hate? A team executive that hopes a player slips a few spots to them and can rip a player without concern about their name being used is a more likely culprit.
Whoever is ripping Jackson might want to lessen any criticism the team will get for cutting him or has a grudge against Jackson. Who knows. But it's worth paying attention when players like McCoy and Coleman say on the record that it's not true. At least they're willing to attach their names to those quotes.
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