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Philadelphia Eagles WR Jackson Released Amid Gang Rumors

In a pretty shocking move, the Philadelphia Eagles announced Friday they had released wide receiver DeSean Jackson.
Posted at 4:32 PM, Mar 28, 2014

In a pretty shocking move, the Philadelphia Eagles announced Friday they've released wide receiver DeSean Jackson.

"The Eagles taking this extraordinary step, they're releasing a playmaker in his prime, has not committed a crime here. It's just about off-field connections, apparently gang connections." (Via ESPN)

The Eagles dropped the bomb via Twitter around noon Friday: "After careful consideration this offseason, Eagles decide to part ways with DeSean Jackson. The team informed him of his release today."

That tweet came just hours after NJ.com published an article claiming Jackson's alleged ties to members of the LA gang Crips were making the Eagles a little nervous.

Jackson was reportedly spotted flashing their gang sign during a game last season, and he's posted photos to his Instagram account with Theron Shakir, a man many outlets have described as a Crips member. Shakir was charged and acquitted in a 2010 murder case.

The NJ.com article also cited Jackson's "bad attitude, and inconsistent work ethic, missed meetings and a lack of chemistry with head coach Chip Kelly" as other reasons why the team decided to cut him loose.

So, was the NJ.com report the straw that broke the camel's, or perhaps eagle's, back?

According to Sports Illustrated, the Eagles were reportedly trying to trade Jackson to avoid this outcome. But his $10.5 million base salary probably didn't help things along, and the wide receiver was apparently unwilling to restructure his contract in the event of a move.

And there were other warning signs Jackson was on his way out.

As Philly.com pointed out earlier this month, the portion of the team's salary cap allocated to receivers came in at a whopping $26.4 million after re-signing wideouts Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper. That's nearly double the league average.

But no matter what the reason, many are stunned Jackson is no longer an Eagle.

He's one of the most electric offensive players in the NFL and just came off a huge 2013 season — his 82 catches for 1,332 yards and nine TDs were all career bests. (Via Wikimedia Commons / Wigstruck, NFL)

But USA Today thinks the Eagles will be just fine without Jackson — they have Cooper and Maclin to keep them solid. The real concern is where Jackson will go next.

Former NFL scout John Middlekauff thinks the reaction of Jackson's former coach could be telling. He tweeted"Andy Reid knows him better than anyone. A history of giving guys 2nd chances. He doesnt touch him, MAJOR red flag."

Jackson issued a statement Friday thanking the Eagles organization and fans. In that statement, he denied any involvement with any gang, ever.