PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP)- The Philadelphia Eagles have released wide receiver DeSean Jackson.
The team cut the former Cal Berkeley star on Friday. He was coming off a career-best season in Philadelphia, leading the team with 82 catches for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns.
Jackson had a $10.25 million contract for the 2014 season, a stiff price the Eagles were not willing to pay. He was signed through 2016.
Jackson thanked the Eagles organization and fans in his own statement Friday, and also denied “unfounded reports” that he was released for off-field issues.
“I would like to make it very clear that I am not and never have been part of any gang,” Jackson said in a statement. ” 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.”
He has 356 career receptions for 6,117 yards and 32 touchdowns. The 27-year-old Jackson is entering his seventh season.
The Eagles had been putting out feelers that Jackson was available. Coach Chip Kelly refused to commit on Jackson’s return at this week’s NFL owner’s meetings.
Speaking at the NFL meetings, Jets owner Woody Johnson expressed interest in Jackson, saying: “We’re looking at a number of players, including DeSean.”
Jackson upset the Eagles when he lobbied for a new contact shortly after they were eliminated in the playoffs. His departure leaves the Eagles with Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin as the starting wide receivers.
© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.