DeSean Jackson told ESPN on Friday evening that he still isn’t quite sure why Chip Kelly and the Eagles released him in the prime of his career.
And now that he’s a member of the NFC East rival Redskins, it’s possible he’ll never know the whole story.
“The conversation I had with Chip Kelly was a deep, personal conversation,” Jackson told Stephen A. Smith in a sit-down interview. “At the same time, when he called me, it was basically like, ‘We’re moving forward. I think it’s best for the team. I think it’s best for yourself.'”
Jackson added: “I was sitting there waiting for a reason why. But that’s basically all I can really say from the conversation was, ‘We’re moving forward and I think it’s best for us and I think it’s best for you. Basically we’re going to go let you negotiate with 31 other teams.’”
Jackson, a 27-year-old three-time Pro Bowler, was released March 28 amid reports of a rift between himself and Kelly, concerns about his attitude in the locker room and alleged ties to gang members.
Jackson acknowledged being late to meetings and surrounding himself with the “wrong individuals” early in his career. But he steadfastly denied being in a gang and said he has a matured in recent years. He was also due to earn $10.5 million from the Eagles next season.
While it’s not known exactly what was said during the phone call – Kelly has not commented publicly on matter – Jackson made it sound like the aforementioned issues/allegations were not discussed, at least not in detail.
“The first time, once he told me, you know, I sat there and was like I wanted to hear what he was going to say,” Jackson said. “Waiting, waiting, waiting, he came back with the same reason. It was more of, ‘We’re going in a new direction.’ And he felt, like I said, it was best for me and best for him. So that’s kind of where we left it.”
Jackson continued: “I got off the phone I was like, ‘Are you sure? That’s it?’ We hung up and that was it.”
It should also be noted that Jackson isn’t the only one wondering what led to his pink slip. On Friday, NFL Players’ Association executive director DeMaurice Smith said the union intends to investigate the circumstances surrounding Jackson’s surprise release.