The Redskins put little to no stock in the negative reports coming out of Philadelphia regarding DeSean Jackson, and after conducting their own research, had the confidence in him (as a player and person) to sign him to a contract.
Coach Jay Gruden and general manager Bruce Allen said they are “very comfortable” with Jackson and believe he will help make the Redskins better on the field while also fitting well into their locker room.
The Eagles released Jackson – a three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver, coming off a career year – amid reports that he had involvement in gang activities, clashed with head coach Chip Kelly and served as a poor example for younger teammates.
But the Redskins’ findings didn’t turn up any concerns, Gruden and Allen said.
“I don’t know about any red flags,” Gruden said Monday before teeing off at the annual Brian Orakpo Leukemia Golf Classic. “Coming in, I know he’s a great football player. We met him, I felt good about his character, and time will tell. But I don’t foresee any challenges in that regard off the field, whatsoever. He’s a good player. He’s been productive for them … I think we’re excited to have him and anything off the field, we’re not concerned about.”
Allen echoed Gruden’s sentiments. He said that the Redskins did not want to form an opinion of Jackson before meeting him, but that they did do their homework on him.
“We try to form our own opinions on people,” Allen said. “The way it transpired, it gave us a full day just to get to know him. We feel he has a lot of good football in him and he’s a good young man. He wants to be great in the NFL.”
When asked, neither official would say how extensive a investigation they conducted, but they insisted they did look into his past.
Said Gruden: “We do homework on every player. Every player has to be checked out nowadays. There’s a lot of issues in the world that people can get in trouble with. But we’re counting on DeSean as a player and person moving forward that he’s going to be a fit in the locker room and obviously be a great asset off the field.”
Said Allen: “I’m not going to get into what other people have said, but in the NFL, the player community is a very small group and everybody knows each other. They know the good and the bad and the indifferent. We felt very comfortable what we found out about him and then we felt very comfortable after talking to him and spending a day with him and seeing how he would fit into our locker room. Our players embraced it. … So we felt good about it.”
After getting a feel for what kind of a person they believe Jackson is, the Redskins went forward with the deal, and actually gave Jackson more guaranteed money than he had remaining on his Philadelphia contract.
They believe that ultimately, his onfield production matters the most, and will help take the offense to another level.
“He’s a great player,” Gruden said. “It’s already documented. He’s had a lot of yards, a lot of catches in his career, been to some pro bowls and gives us some speed. You’re always look for great speed players, but a lot of guys can run but they can’t catch so well. A lot of guys can run but they’re not elusive after the catch. He’s got it all. He’s got everything we want as a receiver and we’re excited to have him, no question.”
Mike’s Jones’s Tuesday mailbag.
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