2014 Oakland Raiders: DeSean Jackson Can Bring Respect Back to Oakland
By Vic Lopez
Nov 3, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports
The League on Notice: Reggie McKenzie and the Raiders are building to Win in 2014!
The time to destroy is over, the Raiders are now in Rebuild mode, and the Rebuild is far from over. Weapons have been added to a team devoid of talent for several years. DeSean Jackson is a weapon, a weapon who can elevate the Oakland Raiders back to a level of respect and fear, not seen in Oakland since 2002.
Reggie McKenzie set his sights on impact veteran players who can quickly improve this Raiders roster. The Offense got a makeover with a new starting quarterback, running back, and wide receiver to go along with a rebuilt offensive line, poised to pound the rock, in a ball control offense. The Defense added versatile pass rushers and depth to help build a dynamic defense that pressures the quarterback under Dennis Allen and Jason Tarver.
Even prior to the 2014 NFL Draft the Oakland Raiders are poised, at least on paper, to compete in a tough AFC West division. The Raiders were the lone team to miss the playoffs from the AFC West, and face an uphill battle against the defending AFC Champion Broncos.
Enter the recently released DeSean Jackson. A dynamic player, who stands out in a league of dynamic players. Jackson is a rare playmaker who is a proven commodity and must be accounted for on every play.
I must say, when I look at the rationalization and reasoning for his release, and I have to throw the “Bull$#!* Flag”. Jackson has been accused of have “Gang” ties, stemming from his days growing up in LA. While some of the accusations bear some truth, the height is which they have been magnified has been grossly irresponsible.
Does DeSean Jackson have gang ties? Of course he does. Jackson’s use of the double “CC’s” or the intentional way he leaves out the “K” when spelling “Jaccpot” his record label, throws up some red flags…..or should I say blue flags.
Anyone who grew up in a city with Crips and Bloods understands, if you affiliate with the Crips, you do not spell any word with “CK”. “BK” and “CK” stand for Blood Killer and Crip Killer, hence spelling “Jackpot” in the correct fashion, is disrespectful.
Gang affiliation is nothing new in professional sports. Players such as CC Sabathia, Richard Sherman, JR Smith, and Paul Pierce have all been accused of having gang affiliations. Similar to DeSean Jackson, these players all grew up in and around gang infested communities. But one thing that stands out….all these players have for the most part had successful careers and survived these affiliations.
Growing up in a certain neighborhood and being surrounded by gangs is not a choice. Asking an athlete to abandoned old friends, family and acquaintances is a tough proposition to make. Especially when many of those helped and facilitated such athletes accension to success.
The aftermath of the Aaron Hernandez tragedy, has left the NFL and its owners with a heightened awareness of any gang affiliations. The NFL has been adamant to protect the shield, and even hired experts to study game footage to determine whether players are displaying street-gang hand signals.
But with the aftermath of any tragedy, often times protective measures and regulations can be overreaching and taken way too far.
The Philadelphia Eagles had numerous reasons aside from DeSean Jackson’s gang affiliations to cut ties with him. The Eagles owned by Jefferey Lurie since 1994, and under the guidance of GM Howie Roseman since 2010, have found success with new head coach Chip Kelly.
One thing that has been evident within the Eagles organization is, they have no problem cutting ties with long-standing players and coaches. Donovan McNabb and Andy Reid come to mind, the Eagles put team first and personnel second. Which is an intelligent way of operating an NFL organization, and they have been applauded for making such moves.
Howie Roseman is a respected GM, who earned his position as a salary cap guy, more so than a football guy. Chip Kelly is said to have final say in football matters, and I belive it is Kelly who ultimately made the decision to move on from DeSean Jackson.
Kelly is the new guy in town and proved his worth last year, with a dynamic offense. Kelly is an innovator and has a vision for how “he” wants to build a football team. In my opinion, I just do not feel Kelly wanted the undersized and expensive headache that Jackson can be.
DeSean Jackson did not fit in the longterm plans for the Eagles and Chip Kelly’s offense. Looking at the draft deep in wide receiver talent, I believe the Eagles saw an opportunity to release an expensive and sometimes volatile player, and replace him with a player of Kelly’s choice.
The Eagles signed Jackson to a 5-year contract worth up to $51 million on March 14, 2012, knowing then what they know now about Jackson’s gang affiliations. So what’s changed since 2012????You guessed it….Chip Kelly.
Fans and media alike need and should always remember, the NFL is a Business First. It’s my opinion releasing DeSean Jackson had less to do with gang affiliation, and more to do with preference of the Head Coach and salary cap relief.
Now back to the Raiders….
This rollercoaster of a offseason is far from over, but Reggie McKenzie has set a trend in Free Agency and through trade….Bring in players with something to prove. Players with a chip on their shoulders. DeSean Jackson fits that mold.
Jackson is an elite weapon, who can elevate a woeful offense and provide a matchup nightmare for opposing coaches. Jackson plays with attitude, toughness, and excellence, hallmarks Al Davis and the Raiders have built into their legacy.
The Oakland Raiders have been looking for respectability since….well 2002. The process to attain that respectability is already underway, and the element DeSean Jackson would bring to this Raiders offense would be instant respect. This former Eagle needs to fly west, and find a new home in Oakland. #DJaxToOakland