DeSean seems likely to stay an Eagle

Posted: March 27, 2014

ORLANDO, Fla. - Chip Kelly is scheduled to talk to reporters this morning at the NFC coaches' media breakfast. That, we're sure about.

If the Eagles' coach, like general manager Howie Roseman on Monday, refuses to discuss DeSean Jackson, the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes probably should hide the butter knives from frustrated Philadelphia-area scribes.

When Kelly trudges past the row of chafing dishes to his league-mandated hour with the media, fewer than 36 hours will have passed since Jackson tweeted about a conversation with the coach, one that apparently left Jackson feeling he will remain an Eagle this season. A source close to Jackson told the Daily News that Kelly told his star wideout: "Don't worry about anything and keep working hard and be ready for camp."

Jackson tweeted: "Good to Talk to Big Chip Today!! Say or hear what ya want!! The Picture speaks for itself!! Winner"

The attached Instagram photo was from training camp, Kelly seeming to chase Jackson with a yellow foam paddle.

The Inquirer reported that a source said Jackson called a few teammates and told them he was staying with the Eagles.

Later yesterday, Jackson tweeted again: "I SIT BAC AND LAUGH AT THE REPORTS THAT COME OUT !! AT THE END OF THE DAY IT'S ENTERTAINMENT GOTTA REMEMBER THAT!! NOT TRUE FACTS."

There also was an Instagram attachment that declared: "MOST OF THE REPORTS THAT COME OUT ARE HILARIOUS!! IF YOU LISTEN TO HALF OF THEM YOU'LL BE FOOLED!! THE MEDIA LOL."

So what to make of all this? To some fans, Kelly speaking with Jackson and telling him not to worry must mean everything you've read and heard over the past 3-plus weeks is a complete fabrication, that the Eagles aren't trading Jackson, and never were.

However, as the Eagles arrived in Orlando Sunday, an exec from another team, who is friendly with Roseman, acknowledged having talked to him about the fact that the Eagles were listening to offers for their Pro Bowl wideout. This executive would have no obvious reason to lie about the matter. That same day, Jets owner Woody Johnson declared his team was interested in obtaining Jackson.

Then, Roseman refused to say anything to allay speculation during a 33-minute session with reporters on Monday, several days after reports surfaced, here and elsewhere, that Jackson figured he was gone, and hadn't been successful in attempting to speak with Kelly about trade rumors.

If the Eagles really didn't want to trade Jackson, there was no reason for Roseman not to say so, and put the matter to rest. There was no reason for Roseman not to be outraged at Johnson for tampering with a player under contract - instead, Roseman tiptoed around the Johnson matter, made it clear he didn't intend to pursue it. There was no reason for Kelly not to talk to Jackson before Monday night. There was no reason for Jeffrey Lurie to tell a group of reporters here late yesterday afternoon that he had "nothing to say" in the wake of the Jackson tweets, according to reporters who were present when the chairman briefly stopped to talk in a corridor.

So, the most obvious theory would be, the Eagles have spent the past several weeks assessing the market, and it isn't what they'd hoped. They've pulled the plug, at least for now.

While it isn't possible to write the whole saga off as a media creation, it is possible things got a bit overheated, league gossips eventually saying the Eagles would release Jackson if they couldn't trade him. Releasing a healthy, 27-year-old star, who caught a career-high 82 passes for 1,332 yards last season, would make no sense, absent some sort of huge off-the-field issue. Having people gossiping and speculating about the burglary of your house probably doesn't qualify.

We don't know that Kelly gave Jackson any sort of guarantee that he won't be traded. Maybe we'll find out at the coaches' breakfast. If Kelly continues Roseman and Lurie's course of refusing to discuss anything about Jackson, then we might conclude the Eagles plan to revisit the trade idea, say, closer to the May 8 start of the NFL draft, when teams might be more willing to deal. It's better for other teams to think you don't want to part with an asset, than that you can't wait to get rid of it, which was where the league's thinking was when the week began.

At the coaches' breakfast yesterday, Jets coach Rex Ryan said he wouldn't discuss players on other teams' rosters. But he said the Jets probably are not done at the wideout position, though Ryan seemed to be referring more to the wideout-deep draft than to Jackson when he made that assessment.

Ryan's newest quarterback, Michael Vick, was asked about Jackson during Vick's ESPN Radio appearance yesterday.

"If it does happen for DeSean, it's something that he has to embrace, something he may have to learn from, depending on whether he wants to leave or not," Vick said. "Regardless, I'm going to support him. He's always been a great friend of mine and a great football player. And, I think highly of him. I give him my utmost support."

Vick said similar things in a SportsNet New York interview yesterday: "I think sometimes it takes a change in your life to understand what really needs to happen, and the course that needs to be set. Maybe it's time for a change for DeSean to help him understand the maturation process of his young NFL life and his personal life."

On the radio, Vick said: "Chip Kelly is a leader . . . certain organizations want things done a certain way."

"[Jackson] is a very productive player. Everybody has a lot of respect for him. But I think at the end of the day, Chip Kelly's decision - the way he wants to do it - is his decision," Vick said. "Who knows why, internally."

Who, indeed?


On Twitter: @LesBowen

Blog: ph.ly/Eagletarian

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