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DeSean Jackson's absence from OTAs reflects poorly on him, Redskins

DeSean Jackson has been busy this week. Just not busy doing his job. Instead, he's been hanging with LeBron James in Cleveland and attending a rap single release event in Los Angeles. All the while, he's put the focus on himself and his team, which neither needed considering the Washington Redskins have finished last in the NFC East division six of the last seven seasons.

Jackson's absence from organized team activities looked bad for him and reinforced the image of the Redskins being a rudderless organization. The fact is, you can't succeed in the NFL if your team lacks leadership.

The past couple of days, Jackson has been all over Instagram, pictured sitting courtside at Game 4 of the NBA's Eastern Conference finals, with James in the tunnel after the Cavaliers completed a series sweep and in a promotional flyer for rapper "Kid Cali." Obviously, Jackson's plate is full. It's reasonable for his employer, however, to expect him show up for work. After all, there's quite a bit to do coming off a 4-12 season.

Officially, players are not required to participate in OTAs. That's clear under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement. Unofficially, the sessions are considered as mandatory as wearing helmets in games.

Show me a coach who fails to stress the importance of the team-building workouts and I'll show you one who won't be on the job long. That's what quarterback Robert Griffin III was getting at the other day, explaining that OTAs are similar to spring practice in college, which also are "voluntary but it's mandatory."

Everyone in the game understands the role OTAs play in a team's development, Griffin continued, "because every organization, at the beginning of the year ... it's not a team. You have to form into a team. That's what we've been doing here."

Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly reportedly released Jackson last offseason because of concerns over his "work ethic and attitude."The Redskins, who did not respond to phone calls seeking comment for this story, were aware of Jackson's reputation, and they still signed him to a three-year deal for $16 million guaranteed. Unfortunately, no one in the organization commands enough respect to persuade Jackson to show up for OTAs or call him out for blowing off the opening week.

And make no mistake, that responsibility falls on second-year head coach Jay Gruden. Griffin, who's trying to revive his career, hasn't performed well enough to be a locker room enforcer. New general manager Scot McCloughan? His main job is to rebuild the roster.

Jackson is the least of the Redskins' problems, his supporters have argued on social media. He does his job well on game days, which is true, and that's all that should matter, they say. But again, Jackson put the Redskins under the microscope, and there's not much good to see.

Related Video
Redskins' Jackson attends Cavs game, not OTAs
Redskins' Jackson attends Cavs game, not OTAs
Mark Brunell discusses Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson's decision to miss OTAs in order to attend a Cavaliers playoff game, and how it's a missed opportunity to help improve team chemistry.

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