By Jake Russell
The Washington Redskins will host recently released wide receiver DeSean Jackson at Redskins Park on Monday in his first free agent visit, according to multiple reports that surfaced Saturday evening.
Jackson, 27, was released Friday by the Philadelphia Eagles shortly after NJ.com published a story highlighting his connection to two Los Angeles gang members. Those gang members have reportedly been tied to two murders since 2010. The same story cited “a bad attitude, an inconsistent work ethic, missed meetings and a lack of chemistry with head coach Chip Kelly” as the original reasons Jackson’s status with the Eagles took a dip.
In a statement released Friday, Jackson denied any affiliation with gangs.
“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 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.”
Philadelphia’s decision to retain fellow receivers Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper this offseason also made releasing Jackson easier. Maclin is coming off of an ACL injury that cost him the 2013 season and Cooper was in hot water all season after being videotaped making a racist remark at a concert.
The Redskins notoriously passed on Jackson in the 2008 NFL Draft because of the character issues that led to his release from Philadelphia. In the second round, Washington selected wide receiver Devin Thomas (34th overall) and tight end Fred Davis (48th overall) while the Philadelphia Eagles selected Jackson with the 49th pick.
Under Kelly’s high-powered offense, Jackson posted career highs in receptions (82), yards (1,332) and touchdowns (9) in 2013. The three-time Pro Bowler has amassed 356 catches for 6,117 yards and 32 touchdowns in his six-year career.
Signing Jackson would improve the Redskins in two areas: a dynamic, speedy compliment to Pierre Garcon, who led the NFL in receptions in 2013, and a playmaker at punt returner, a position the Redskins struggled at mightily last season.
According to NBC 4’s Dianna Russini, who broke the news that Jackson would visit the Redskins, Jackson is interested in playing for the burgundy and gold.
Source close to DeSean Jackson: he wants to play for Washington. Yes money is part of it but if its right fit it could work…#Redskins
— Dianna Marie Russini (@NBCdianna) March 30, 2014
The Redskins will have one less team to contend with for Jackson’s services, according to Ian Rapoport. The Kansas City Chiefs, led by Jackson’s former head coach Andy Reid, have decided not to pursue the free agent any longer.
#Chiefs were among those who did research on DeSean Jackson, as did plenty of others. Source says they are now OUT. He’ll visit Skins Monday
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 30, 2014
Not that Redskins fans need a reminder, but here’s a sample of what Jackson is capable of.
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