DeSean Jackson confirmed the greatest fears of Eagles fans everywhere late Tuesday night, when perhaps the best wide receiver in team history signed a three-year, $24 million deal with the Redskins with $16 million guaranteed.
Forget that Jackson was the reason for his own demise, complaining about the $10.5 million he was due in 2014, that he was the victim of a bizarre robbery and his countless extra curricular activities to distract the team, gang ties or no. He was a lightning rod, a one-man game changer, and now he will return to Lincoln Financial Field adorned in burgundy and gold.
But he is hardly the first Eagles’ superstar to return to Philadelphia as a enemy of the state. Here are five guys who did not have a very happy return to the City of Brotherly Love.
1. Reggie White
The Eagles all-time sack leader (124) is arguably the best player in the history of the team.
White left the Eagles for the Packers as a free agent in 1993 where he went on to set that franchises’ sack record as well.
White won a Super Bowl in Green Bay, a Defensive Player of the Year award in 1998 and was a Pro Bowler every season from 1985-1998.
He returned to Veterans Stadium only once, in 1997, a 10-9 Eagles victory. But the Eagles felt burned not because of his play against them, but because his career continued to prosper in greener pastures, leading to a Hall of Fame induction and wild success not in Philadelphia, but in Wisconsin.
2. DeSean Jackson
Jackson’s return will surely contain a myriad of boos and insults from the Eagles faithful, but his signing with the Redskins suddenly gives them some pretty scary weapons, ones for Robert Griffin III to attack the NFC East with.
“Very exciting player. Determined to show he is the best and hungry to win. My kinda guy,” Griffin told ESPN.
The Redskins seemed destined to land the Pro Bowl receiver when he went to visit the team Monday and was still in Washington Tuesday.
First year head coach Jay Gruden could have his hands full with Jackson, but then again, he might not. In Cincinnati, Gruden helped keep Adam Jones and Cedric Benson under wraps.
Jackson will join Santana Moss as a duo the Eagles secondary will surely be concerned with subduing come the fall.
3. Cris Carter
Eagles fans can only hope the Jackson debacle doesn’t end up like Cris Carter back in 1989. Buddy Ryan decided to let the receiver walk after off the field issues got in the way of his play for the Eagles.
After problems abusing alcohol and drugs, Carter got a second chance with the Minnesota Vikings and the rest is history.
Carter caught 19 touchdown passes in three season with the Eagles, and then 110 in ten seasons in Minnesota.
In his first trip back to Veterans Stadium as a Viking in 1990, Carter caught six passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns. But the Eagles held on to win 32-24.
Carter faced the Birds two more times in his career, a win in Minnesota in 1997 and a blow out loss to Donovan McNabb and company in 2001.
More than his battles against his former team, it’s his Hall of Fame numbers with the Vikings that haunt the Eagles, wondering what could have been. But the wake up call of being cut certainly helped him become one of the best receivers in NFL history.
4. Sonny Jurgensen
The back up quarterback (behind Norm Van Brocklin) for the 1960 NFL Championship squad, Jurgensen would setan NFL record 3,723 yards, tying the NFL record with 32 touchdown passes, as a starter in 1961.
After injuries shortened his 1963 season the Eagles traded him to the Redskins for Norm Snead and Claude Crabb. In Washington, Jurgensen broke his own passing record with the Birds and padded his NFL Hall of Fame resume.
Jurgensen had a 8-2 career record in Philadelphia against the Eagles, winning six straight games in Philly as a Redskin from 1968-1974.
5. Jeremiah Trotter
Perhaps the Eagles best run stopper during the decade they played best, the 2000’s, Trotter left the Birds for the Redskins for two seasons in 2002 and 2003, collecting 91 and 113 tackles respectively.
Trotter made only one trip back to Philly during his time in Washington, a 27-25 Eagles victory that saw Trotter make five tackles and grab an interception.
He returned to the Eagles for a second stint starting in 2004, where he helped the Eagles’ defense make a run to the Super Bowl.