The Philadelphia Eagles released DeSean Jackson on Friday, within an hour after a report about alleged “gang connections” was posted on NJ.com.
Jackson said in a statement that has never been a gang member and on Saturday a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department told the Philadelphia Daily News that Jackson was not linked to gang activity in L.A., his hometown, and is not a suspect in two homicide investigations from 2011 and 2012.
“It’s kind of like ‘Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,’ ” Chris Barling, a homicide detective, told the News. “When people grow up in neighborhoods where you have gang involvement, you don’t have to look too far before you find a connection to a connection. Now, how sinister that connection is, our position is that’s for others to judge.”
Barling said that the LAPD tried to contact Jackson through the Eagles after a 2011 shooting, but the team “didn’t return the call. However, Barling added, “we came across a number for him and had a conversation. It was nothing confrontational; he answered our questions.” Investigators contacted Jackson again after a shooting outside property rented by his sister in 2012 but were satisfied that he was not involved.
“There’s no other investigation that I’m aware of where Mr. Jackson’s name has come up,” Barling said. “It’s clear he was not involved the homicides.”
A number of teams have expressed interested in the 27-year-old playmaker, who was coming off his best season, in the 24 hours since his release. He will visit the Washington Redskins this week and a reunion with Andy Reid, who drafted him and now is in Kansas City, has seemed possible. The Oakland Raiders, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills also have been discussed as likely landing spots for him.