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Yes, I know. This is hard to believe. ‘Tis true, though. Marcus Hayes wrote yet another odd-staccatoed screed today, this one in defense of DeSean Jackson. It is… probably the most predictable Philly sports column of the year.

Here, let’s just break it down:

YOU THOUGHT Joe Banner was harsh?

Chip Kelly makes Banner look like Mother Teresa.

The Eagles sent a clear message when they cut DeSean Jackson yesterday:

No matter how well you play, no matter how professionally you act, if we believe you are overpaid we will get rid of you.

Marcus comes out of the gate roaring with a vintage trifecta of one-sentence paragraphs, unfair assessments and wild speculation. It is truly impressive how quickly he cast Chip Kelly (and not the problem child wide receiver who throws up gang signs) as the villain and then pivoted to speculate that the Eagles’ decision was based solely or largely on money, which is an absurd conclusion when you consider the fact that they have plenty of cap space and that this move makes the team worse.

And we will do anything to protect our image in doing so.

Yes, they may cut a troublesome wide receiver to protect themselves from a potentially dangerous situation.

Just hours after a story published yesterday on that tenuously connected Jackson to the Crips gang in his hometown of Los Angeles, the Eagles saw a chance to minimize the public outrage.

So, they released the best receiver on the 2013 team and the most explosive player in team history.

Those tenuous connections include multiple associations with murder suspects, an endless stream of photos with alleged gang members, gang signs, and this photo of DeSean with his friend and purported gangster, Shakir, who was wearing an LA County Jail shirt and a Jaccpot chain upon his release from prison:

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[Shakir was acquitted of murder, but his co-defendent was sentenced to 15 years to life. A reason to celebrate, this was.]

It should be noted that a more plausible reason for cutting DeSean immediately following the story’s release was the fact that the story essentially rendered him untradable. The Eagles’ secret was out.

So what if releasing Jackson now casts him as a thug?

So what if it eliminates his chances to earn what he’s worth . . . maybe forever? He is 27, has played six seasons and looks fit enough to play six more.

Except now he’ll be the Gangbanger, forever tainted.

Two very plausible reasons for why the Eagles aren’t talking: 1) Shredding DeSean to the press would only hurt him more. 2) They know more than we do. But no. Let’s just go with Marcus’ opinion that the Eagles are the bad guys for doing what they felt was best for their organization. It’s their fault that DeSean will be cast a “gangbanger,” not, say, DeSean’s fault for using gang signs on the football field and taking pictures with murder suspects.

The Eagles could not care less.

Yeah, I’m sure they’re just thrilled with this story. There are no winners here.

They could have held on to him for a couple of weeks. They could have stood by him, could have denied any half-truths or mistruths that were published.

Instead, they cast the entire screed as gospel truth.

Actually, they didn’t. They cut him. The story just forced their hand. And yes, they could have denied any half-truths… or, maybe, just maybe what was in the report is only the tip of the iceberg. Not saying that’s the case, but it’s a very realistic possibility, one which Marcus won’t dare consider.

This isn’t family. It is never family. This is dirty, dirty business.

The rest of the team better understand that.

This team shed Brian Dawkins, Hugh Douglas and Jeremiah Trotter, but in those Banner days, it was at least honest and honorable about the moves.

Yes, it is a business. I’m guessing that most NFL players know that. Pretty sure DeSean, a business man himself from the no-Crips-killed-here-Jaccpot-double-C, knows that.

And somehow releasing DeSean and saying absolutely nothing bad about him was dishonorable. Right.

This time, they ruined a young man who has spent much of his life avoiding ruin.

I’m still trying to figure out what the Eagles did to ruin DeSean and his reputation. Surely DeSean’s Instagram, bad attitude, poor sportsmanship, gang associations and off-the-field distractions had nothing to do with the ruining of a young man’s reputation.

The Birds will save a boatload of cash by jettisoning D-Jax, and that’s all that matters to them.

Highly doubtful. Recklessly doubtful, actually.

They also will lose the NFL’s most dangerous receiver, one who froze safeties in their boots, one who gave defensive coordinators sweaty nightmares in team hotels.

False. Calvin Johnson would like a word.

Jackson’s presence opened up huge holes for teammates to run into and through. His presence meant an extra beat for the team’s quarterbacks – a beat that young Nick Foles needed quite a bit.

Very true. Which is why there was likely much more to this story than money. DeSean made the Eagles better. They cut him for other reasons. He was a net negative to them.

Still, Jackson’s 5-10 and 178 pounds of surly narcissism never was the perfect fit for this team.

He didn’t fit the prototype for Kelly’s perfect NFL receiver; and, like many NFL receivers, he was high maintenance.

Jackson required a preseason meeting with Kelly to assuage his ego.

He was involved in a sideline dustup with an assistant coach during the season.

After the season, he agreed with a questioner that, yes, he deserved a reworked contract with more guaranteed money, and he intimated that he might hold out of training camp.

And this was a quiet year for Jackson.

The report cited missed meetings, a poor relationship with Kelly and laziness as reasons why the Eagles let him go. Additionally, the report said the Eagles were troubled by Jackson’s alleged association with the Crips.

Here’s where the hypocrisy in just delicious. Marcus skims the top of DeSean’s risk pyramid and cites legitimate reasons why an NFL team may not want to bother with a player… all in an article that crucifies the team for not wanting to bother with a player. Yet this is the same Marcus who crusaded against Riley Cooper, saying in September: “We’re not talking about football at all. Riley Cooper is no longer a football player, he’s a symbol for something that’s terrible, and the Eagles chose to keep him on the roster, so they have to deal with it every iteration all year long.”

That was Marcus implying that the Eagles made the wrong decision to keep Cooper, a white guy, a bad seed and a distraction, around. Yet when it’s DeSean, a black guy, a bad seed and a distraction, it just comes with the territory. Got it.

Kelly said Wednesday during the NFL meetings in Orlando, Fla., that he had no issues with Jackson’s professionalism this season.

Typically, and sadly, Jackson offered an awkward rebuttal to the report that denied any gang ties.

Yes, because we should always believe NFL coaches and agent-written statements from diva wide receivers.

If the Eagles had a problem with Jackson’s loyalties and associations, they weren’t worried enough to cut ties with him earlier, when the blood was still fresh on the pavement.

Instead, the Eagles paid him $18 million in 2012 and 2013, $15 million of which essentially was guaranteed.

This was after two incidents tenuously associated Jackson with assumed gang-related violence in his hometown of Los Angeles.

Is it possible that maybe, just maybe the sum of DeSean’s myriad problems became too much for the Eagles and that the alleged burglary at his home in January was the final straw? Is it possible that then, for the first time, DeSean’s off-the-field issues hit too close to home with a mysterious crime that seems like it was anything but random?

Yes, the Eagles were being run by Joe Banner and Andy Reid when Jackson signed his deal. Both were gone before the 2013 season, but cutting Jackson in 2013 would have been a $12 million salary-cap hit: $4 million in guaranteed salary and $8 million in accelerated signing bonus.

Besides, before the 2013 season the Eagles, had no idea all that they had at receiver. Jeremy Maclin and Jackson were returning as starters, and when Maclin was lost for the season after an ACL injury in training camp, they had only untested Riley Cooper and aging Jason Avant. Cooper became embroiled in his own controversy, when he was caught on video using a racial slur in reference to a black security guard at Kenny Chesney concert.

Cooper shined in his first season as a starter and earned a new contract.

Avant is gone, but Maclin has recovered.

Rambling. Please cut.

The cap hit is a straight $6 million, with a cap savings of $6.5 million and a cash savings of Jackson’s $10.5 million salary and workout bonus.

The draft is rich in receivers.

Now, so is the free-agent market.

As long as you don’t mind a player who occasionally throws up gang signs and has a couple of questionable buddies.

So long as you don’t mind those things when paying someone $10 million.

[Marcus then goes on to regurgitate the story. He points to all of the details in the supposedly reckless story that work in DeSean’s favor, including the fact that he was never convicted of any serious crimes and that the team or league never investigated a disturbing the peace charge from 2009.]

Legal issues aside, there is a perception that Jackson’s aloof, dismissive personality might infect other players on the team. That is a misperception, and it rings laughably hollow.

Anyone who has spent time in the Eagles’ locker room understood that Jackson operated in his own, little diva bubble. He was not taken seriously as a leader or as a role model. Petulant and shallow, he was employed for his talents, not his character.

There are plenty of character guys: Connor BarwinJason KelceEvan Mathis, DeMeco Ryans, Brent Celek. They police the room. Young quarterback Nick Foles might be added to that list, eventually.

Jackson did no harm.

My guess is that Marcus would not have written this portion of his column about the Cooper situation.

For that matter, in 2013 we saw D-Jax 2.0, a more fit and more functional player, eager to toe the company line as the company’s structure changed.

The old version held out in 2011, quit on the team during games that season and was suspended one game for missing meetings. The team was worse for his actions, but the team hardly was infected by them.

Consider: Maclin, entering the final year of his rookie contract, could have held out in 2013. He probably should have; as it turns out, the worst happened. He was injured and rendered unable to prepare for the free-agent market.

But Maclin did not hold out. It is not in his makeup to do such a thing.

Cutting Jackson was not nothing but saving money on a player who the team believes does not fit the salary structure – a move that would be wildly unpopular if not justified by some other distracting news.

This timing was deviously perfect.

WILD SPECULATION. Somehow Marcus, after listing dozens of reasons why the Eagles would want to cut DeSean, concludes that it was all about money.

You know, I’m beginning to think Marcus Hayes is a racist.