DeSean Jackson’s release kicks off speculation game

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Philadelphia Eagles’ release of wide receiver DeSean Jackson on Friday arrived in a two-sentence announcement on the team’s official Twitter account.

January 26, 2014; Honolulu, HI, USA; Team Sanders receiver DeSean Jackson of the Philadelphia Eagles (10) is defended by Team Rice cornerback Brandon Flowers of the Kansas City Chiefs (24) during the 2014 Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

January 26, 2014; Honolulu, HI, USA; Team Sanders receiver DeSean Jackson of the Philadelphia Eagles (10) is defended by Team Rice cornerback Brandon Flowers of the Kansas City Chiefs (24) during the 2014 Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The tweet read: “After careful consideration this offseason, Eagles decide to part ways with DeSean Jackson. The team informed him of his release today.”

Jackson’s release comes on the heels of wide speculation in the past week the move was inevitable, and shortly after a Friday story on NJ.com raised concerns over Jackson’s off-field alleged gang connections.

For his part, Jackson released a statement through EAG Sports Management, a marketing and public relations company.

“First I would like to thank the Eagles organization, the Eagles fans and the city of Philadelphia for my time in Philly,” Jackson said in the statement. “I would also like to thank coach Andy Reid for bringing me in.

“Secondly, I would like to address the misleading and unfounded reports that my release has anything to do with any affiliation that has been speculated surrounding the company I keep off of the field. I would like to make it very clear that I am not and never have been part of any gang. I am not a gang member and to speculate and assume that I am involved in such activity off the field is reckless and irresponsible.

“I work very hard on and off the field and I am a good person with good values. I am proud of the accomplishments that I have made both on and off the field. I have worked tirelessly to give back to my community and have a positive impact on those in need. It is unfortunate that I now have to defend myself and my intentions. These reports are irresponsible and just not true. I look forward to working hard for my new team. God Bless.”

Meanwhile, at least six teams have reached out to Jackson’s agent, Joel Segal, since the Eagles’ announcement, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.

The Chiefs are reportedly one of the teams, Danny Parkins of 610 Sports Radio tweeted while citing a source.

Attempts to reach Segal by phone seeking confirmation went unanswered.

There are obvious ties with Jackson to Kansas City, namely Reid, whom Jackson mentioned by name in his statement.

While with the Eagles, Reid drafted Jackson in 2008 and earlier in the week remained complimentary of Jackson at the NFL Annual Meeting.

“I have nothing but good things to say about the kid,” Reid told reporters. “I did draft him. I had a great relationship with him, when his father passed away, that was a hard thing for him to go through at a young age. They were best friends. I’ve experienced life things with him, so I would tell you he was great for me when I was there.”

Whether the Chiefs make a serious attempt to go after Jackson, a three-time Pro Bowler, remains to be seen.

One of the primary obstacles surrounds not having much wiggle room if Jackson seeks a healthy contract.

The Chiefs as of Friday afternoon have $4.5 million in salary cap space, according to NFLPA records.

Nevertheless, former Eagles wide receiver Todd Pinkston told ChiefsSpin.com in a Friday afternoon phone interview seeing Reid potentially being interested in Jackson made sense.

“I won’t be surprised if he goes after DeSean,” Pinkston said. “It depends on how comfortable and how he feels about the receiver corps that he has. It depends on who grabs him up first; they’re getting a good player.”

Now a high school wide receivers coach in Petal, Miss., Pinkston played five seasons for Reid from 2000-04. He also did a coaching internship with the Eagles in 2009 under Reid and then-Eagles, current Chiefs assistant head coach/wide receivers coach David Culley.

And when it comes to the loyalty and admiration between Reid and his former players, Pinkston said it’s a two-way street.

“He’s just the type of man that former players love to play for,” Pinkston said. “He just has that knack as a player’s coach.”