The NFLPA plans to look into circumstances that led to the Philadelphia Eagles releasing wide receiver DeSean Jackson and whether the team tried to soil his reputation and hurt his chances of catching on with another team.
NFLPA Executive director DeMaurice Smith revealed those plans for an investigation during an appearance on ESPN radio Friday morning. An NFLPA spokesman confirmed that the union will indeed look into the matter.
Jackson, who signed with Washington on Wednesday, fell out of favor with the Eagles last season and the team tried to trade him this month. After failing to find a willing partner, the Eagles released the seventh-year pro last Friday.
On the same day, NJ.com released a story that stated Philadelphia brass soured on Jackson because he clashed with Coach Chip Kelly and also had gang affiliations. Jackson released a statement adamantly denying ties to gangs.
The LAPD also denied that Jackson had involvement in gangs in his hometown. Smith said in his interview with “Mike and Mike in the Morning” that the union has been in contact with Jackson and his camp about the matter.
“We’ve been in touch with DeSean, and first and foremost he is a tremendous football player and great young man,” Smith said. “On the issue of how he was released, whether or not there were comments or leaks from the team, misinformation to the media coming from the team, that’s something that we’re going to look at. We’ve always been aggressive about protecting the integrity of our players.”
The players association will speak to individuals within the Eagles organization to gain a clearer picture of the situation, a union spokesman said. It wasn’t immediately clear how long the investigation would take.
Jackson’s agent didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.