DeSean Jackson responds to Eagles release: I am not a gang member

Philadelphia Eagles' DeSean Jackson is seen during a preseason NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)
March 28, 2014 3:29:28 PM PDT
Amid rumors, the Philadelphia Eagles released DeSean Jackson Friday and now, the wide receiver has responded.

"After careful consideration this offseason, Eagles decide to part ways with DeSean Jackson. The team informed him of his release today," the Eagles tweeted Friday afternoon.

Close to an hour later, Jackson released his own statement, which was posted on ESPN's Adam Schefter's Facebook page:

"First I would like to thank the Eagles organization, the Eagles fans and the city of Philadelphia for my time in Philly. I would also like to thank coach Andy Reed [sic] for bringing me in. Secondly, I would like to address the misleading and unfounded reports that my release has anything to do with any affiliation that has been speculated surrounding the company I keep off of the field. I would like to make it very clear that I am not and never have been part of any gang. I am not a gang member and to speculate and assume that I am involved in such activity off the field is reckless and irresponsible. I work very hard on and off the field and I am a good person with good values. I am proud of the accomplishments that I have made both on and off the field. I have worked tirelessly to give back to my community and have a positive impact on those in need. It is unfortunate that I now have to defend myself and my intentions. These reports are irresponsible and just not true . I look forward to working hard for my new team. God Bless."

Earlier in the day, NJ.com reported the Eagles were concerned about DeSean's ties to reputed Los Angeles street gang members.

Action News has learned the Eagles had multiple concerns about DeSean and his effect on the organization. These include his on the field and off the field work ethic and attitude.

They want their highest paid players, such as Jackson, to be stewards of the team. Those high up in the organization were concerned DeSean was not representing them well and that it was increasingly getting worse.

When all rumors came out that the team was looking to trade Jackson, the Eagles didn't comment, but also didn't deny them.

"And we can read between the lines on that - they WERE trying to move him in light of everything I just said," Action News sports reporter Jamie Apody wrote on Facebook page.

As for the NJ.com article about DeSean's reported gang affiliations, Action News has learned the Eagles did not know about the story until Wednesday when they were given notice that it was being published.

After they learned the details of the article, it was determined that they could not, in good faith, trade Jackson to another team because it would reflect badly on the organization and would not be a good way to do business.

"Considering they had already decided to move on with him anyway, they just went ahead and released him Friday," Jamie wrote.

Those allegations in the article were not the determining factor in his release but one of the many factors, Action News has learned.

The Eagles brass told Jamie Apody they will not be making any public comment about Jackson's release.

Jackson, 27, was coming off a career-best season in Philadelphia, leading the team with 82 catches for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns.

Jackson had a $10.25 million contract for the 2014 season, a stiff price the Eagles were not willing to pay. He was signed through 2016.

He has 356 career receptions for 6,117 yards and 32 touchdowns.

"Despite shopping him and finding interest, Eagles have made decision to cut WR DeSean Jackson. Outright. Jackson is now a free agent," Schefter tweeted.

Minutes after the announcement was made, Jackson posted a video on Instagram of him running on a track. The caption of the video reads, "Steady GRind Mode God Got the Plan !! Not Me .."

Eagles center Jason Kelce took to Twitter to react to this development.

"We just made an extremely unpopular decision, but I couldn't be more excited and happy with where this organization is going!! #FlyEaglesFly," Kelce wrote.

Kelce added, "Good luck with whatever team you end up with DeseanJackson10!"

The Eagles drafted Jackson in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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