Eagles players talk about Jackson and Mathis

Todd Herremans says he feels terrific entering bye week.
Todd Herremans says he feels terrific entering bye week. (DAVID MAIALETTI / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)
Posted: March 29, 2014

Some of the Eagles' top players attended Todd Herremans' second annual charity event at a Center City ballroom Thursday night at a time when the future is uncertain for two of their most prominent teammates: receiver DeSean Jackson and guard Evan Mathis.

The players expressed varying degrees of support while acknowledging that the organization has the final say anyway.

"[Jeffrey] Lurie, Howie [Roseman], Chip [Kelly], they're not calling down to us, asking us: 'Do we need this? Should we do this?' " wide receiver Jeremy Maclin said. "They're going to do what's best for the organization, and so far, so good."

When Maclin was asked whether he wanted Jackson on the roster next season, he did not provide a "yes" or "no" answer.

"I want to win games," Maclin said, "and obviously DeSean's a very talented player."

That was similar to Kelly's response to the same question one day earlier, when Kelly complimented Jackson but said he'll do what's in the best interest of the team.

Kelly praised Mathis on Thursday and did not sound as if he thought the guard was going anywhere. Mathis is entering the third season of a five-year, $25.5 million deal and wants a new contract. The Eagles gave his agent permission to seek a trade.

"I expect him to be on the line with me," Herremans said. "I don't expect any reason not to. Everybody wants more money. . . . He just got a big contract two years ago. Obviously, he feels he's played through that. And we'll see what happens."

Herremans appreciated the support of his teammates at the Hoops for Help fund-raiser, which raises money for six local charities. Maclin, Riley Cooper, Connor Barwin, Brent Celek, Trent Cole, and Jon Dorenbos were there.

They are still almost a month away from reporting for the offseason training program. As far as the team's plans go, the players said they know very little. Jackson is on the trading block.

"I don't know what's true, what's not true," Cooper said. "All I know is he had a great year for us last year. He's explosive, he's dynamic, and I hope he's here. I really do."

Cooper and Maclin said they signed their contracts last month without thinking about Jackson's future. It will affect both of them, but they were clear that it's not their decision to make.

"Everybody knows DeSean is a phenomenal talent," Maclin said. "But at the end of the day, that's not a decision that players get to make or the city gets to make. That's a decision the staff gets to make. Whatever they decide to do - any decision - I think that's what you've got to believe in."


zberman@phillynews.com

@ZBerm

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