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NFLPA to investigate Eagles release of DeSean Jackson

By John Breech | CBSSports.com

Did the Eagles smear DeSean Jackson? (USATSI)
Did the Eagles smear DeSean Jackson? (USATSI)

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DeSean Jackson might be in Washington now, but that doesn't mean the NFL Player's Association isn't still interested about the way his career ended in Philadelphia.

The NFLPA has a few questions it wants answered about Jackson's release, so the organization is going to investigate what happened, according to executive director DeMaurice Smith.

"We've been in touch with DeSean, and first and foremost he is a tremendous football player and great young man," Smith told ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike. "On the issue of how he was released, whether or not there were comments or leaks from the team, misinformation to the media coming from the team, that's something that we're going to look at. We've always been aggressive about protecting the integrity of our players."

The Eagles still haven't commented about Jackson's release, so it's not completely clear yet why the team dumped him. In the hours before he was released on March 28, NJ.com reported that the Eagles were 'concerned with his "continued association with reputed Los Angeles street gang members who have been connected to two homicides since 2010."

Of course, there's also a few other reasons Jackson could have been cut. Chip Kelly may not have liked Jackson's locker room demeanor -- he was reportedly selfish -- and it's highly probable that money played a factor. Jackson had three years left on a five-year deal that was going to pay him over $10 million in 2014.

Whatever the reason was though, the Eagles aren't saying and that seems to be Smith's problem.

"To me, the real issue is this is the business of football. If you want to make a decision to cut a player, tell a player he's cut," Smith said. "Make a decision. But if you want to smear a player with innuendo or something that is less than proof... you know that I was very aggressive in calling a few GMs cowards for what they said about a young man coming out of college [former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam]. It seems to me that the same thing applies... if you want to smear someone and you don't have any evidence."

The downside here for the NFLPA is that if it does investigate why Jackson was released and it turns out he was released for being a selfish, me-first player, that information could leak and make Jackson look bad. For an organization that's about 'protecting the integrity of our players,' that wouldn't be a good look.

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