After avoiding for a month any public comment about their release of DeSean Jackson, the Eagles finally talked on Monday during their annual playground project in Center City. The only problem now is, they still have no intention of explaining what really happened between the team and their headstrong former wide receiver.
Not only did coach Chip Kelly claim the stunning move to cut a Pro Bowler with 82 catches and 1,332 yards was “purely a football decision,” he actually had an attitude about it. In a snippy tone, he said he didn’t hold a news conference after he cut Jason Avant or Patrick Chung, so why hold one for Jackson?
First of all, Jackson is not Avant or Chung. Just ask the thousands of fans who bought jerseys to honor the exciting six-year star. And second, no one ever sought an official news conference. Apparently, a couple of questions about an extremely unorthodox move are too much of a burden for a coach who was generously embraced by the fans in his rookie season.
Meanwhile, owner Jeff Lurie rolled out another of his blustery words when he said the Eagles were simply “reconfiguring” their wide-receiver corps by dumping Jackson. Since when do teams reconfigure their pass-catching unit by subtracting the most successful player on it, a contributor deemed worthy of a $47-million contract extension two years ago?
The Eagles remain a positive influence with their many charity projects, but something is being lost in translation here. Their responsibility to the community extends beyond building playgrounds. It also includes being available to, and honest with, the fans – a duty they have ignored over the past few months.
Flyers playoff run could yield bad result
Amid the renewed interest in the Flyers during their first playoff appearance in two years, it’s time for a sobering question: Will their brief taste of success do more harm than good?
Under the archaic leadership of chairman Ed Snider, the Flyers are the only team in professional sports still stuck in the 1970s, with the same old faces in the front office making the same out-of-touch mistakes. The names change occasionally – from Bob Clarke to Paul Holmgren, for example – but the philosophy never wavers. Overspend on players well past their primes and mix them with overrated young guys. It hasn’t worked for four decades.
When Snider fired Peter Laviolette three games into the season, he scoffed at suggestions that the culture on the team needed to change, and now he can take some solace in the fact that the Flyers rebounded well under Craig Berube. Unlike the Sixers, they are still a respectable sports franchise.
But the real danger here is that these momentary playoff thrills will convince Snider yet again to stay the course, even though a more rational mind would have realized long ago that the road he is following back to a Stanley Cup is a dead end. These Flyers have given the chairman every reason to believe next year is the year – even though it isn’t.
Snider is 81 now, but it’s a young 81. He was 42 the last time he won the championship, half a lifetime ago. As long as the Flyers keep coming close, Snider will refuse to make the one move that must be made. And that is for him to retire.
- The Phillies just completed a successful 6-4 West Coast trip, and they have Carlos Ruiz to thank most for their surprising turnaround. In a week of big plays, Ruiz’s hustle on a routine pop-up in the 10th inning against the Dodgers led to the winning run. Carlos Ruiz is a hero. Anyone who respects the game that way is a hero.
- Asked how he got along with ex-teammate DeSean Jackson, Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin said last week: “A relationship is a relationship.” Wow. It was worse than we thought.
- The Buffalo Bills suspended their cheerleader squad last week after five members sued them for sexual harassment and inappropriate touching. The biggest revelation was that the team pays members nothing for games and most appearances. Not a dime. Angry for being exposed, the Bills told the girls to go home. Yeah, that’ll teach ‘em.
- NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is pleased with the league’s policy of identifying injuries only as “upper- or lower-body” problems. Now one of his staffers needs to test Bettman’s commitment by calling out of work one day with an upper-body issue. Let’s see how much he likes it then.
- After Sixers owner Joshua Harris proclaimed the 19-63 season “a huge success,” he and his staff went back into hiding last week. We’ll just have to assume they’re taking a much-deserved vacation after a job well done.