Releasing DeSean was a football decision, is what Chip Kelly and the Eagles’ brass repeated yesterday. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. A football decision is not very descriptive when the business is… a football team. It’s like Jelly Belly firing their COO and saying it was a bean decision. It’s the most basic talking point imaginable, one that was undoubtedly crafted and discussed by Kelly, Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman before they met with reporters at a playground. Their words were as predictable as the
arousing ovation Sheena Parveen gets when she shows up on the scoreboard at Flyers games to give a weather report.
Yet, some in the media gobbled them right up.
Sports talk radio discussion centered on how Chip could call this a “football decision” when the move clearly makes the team worse, on paper.
TV just trumpeted what Chip said because that’s what TV does (honestly, I didn’t watch any TV last night, but I’m assuming that’s what happened).
As for the writers? To their credit, most were skeptical of the official party line. Jeff McLane thinks there was more to the decision. Paul Domowitch thinks, I believe incorrectly, that it was about money. And Sheil Kapadia unpacked the boxed lunched served by Kelly et al.
But Geoff Mosher of CSN took the bait, hook, line and sinker with nary a shadow of doubt cast (you won’t find too many people at CSN who are real critical of the Eagles… or any local team for that matter):
The Eagles’ decision to release DeSean Jackson had nothing to do with his ominous inner circle or growing friction with the head coach.
Chip Kelly on Monday called Jackson’s March 28 release “purely a football decision.”
“We were going in a different direction at the wide receiver position,” Kelly said Monday. “We came back from the owners meetings, we had no takers from a trade standpoint, so we felt that it was best at that point in time to release him and let him negotiate with 31 other teams.
“It has nothing to do with anything that was ever written in a newspaper article or any off-field behavior with him. DeSean was great in the year that I had him. It was just a decision that we made as a team that a lot of teams make at that point in time.”
As did Bob Grotz of the Delco Times:
Jackson had a career season with the Eagles, catching 82 passes for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns. In five seasons with the Eagles, Jackson, 27, has 39 touchdowns. Now he’s property of the Washington Redskins, who still are in need of playmakers.
Asked if Jackson had an issue with wide receivers coach Bob Bicknell, who had a sideline run-in with the player during the loss last season to the Minnesota Vikings, Kelly replied no. Kelly also said Bicknell didn’t have a problem with Jackson.
A team source backed up what Kelly said. The Eagles are confident they will be productive without the high-priced Jackson. Considerable resources were spent getting Jackson involved.
CHIP SAID IT! MUST BE TRUE! THE SOURCE BACKED HIM UP! TRUTHIES!
I already wrote too much about why some football reporters are out of their league with this story. But please, please don’t believe everything a coach tells you the way Mosher and Grotz just did. The Eagles want the media to harp on the merits of this “football” move, to be distracted by the on-field repercussions of dismissing DeSean. But there are probably many facets to it– his habits, his work ethic and his contract likely all played a part. Couching his release in “football decision” verbiage is about as vague as it comes, but the word “football” predictably directed some folks to the field, which is exactly what the Eagles wanted.