Kelly: ‘I like DeSean,’ but Eagles’ needs first

Updated: March 26, 2014, 9:44 AM ET

By
Mike Reiss | ESPN.com

ORLANDO, Fla. — Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly acknowledged that he spoke with wide receiver DeSean Jackson “a couple days ago” regarding swirling reports that Jackson could be traded or released, but when he was peppered by the media at Wednesday’s NFL annual meeting, Kelly didn’t quash those reports by ensuring Jackson will be with the club in 2014.
“We’ve had a good conversation and we’re always going to do what’s best for the football team,” Kelly said. “But I think he knows where we are, and I know where he is. I feel very comfortable about it. My conversations with him aren’t things I think I need to have a conversation with anyone else about.”

Asked if he wants Jackson on the team, Kelly said, “I like DeSean. DeSean did a really nice job for us. But we’re always going to do what’s best for the organization.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Tuesday that Jackson has called some teammates and told them, following his conversation with Kelly, that he won’t be traded. On Wednesday morning, Kelly wouldn’t divulge details of his conversation with Jackson, saying it was a player-to-coach matter.
Jackson is scheduled to earn a base salary of $10.5 million in 2014, a significant total that has sparked speculation about his future with the team, even after he totaled 82 receptions for 1,332 yards, both career highs.
“I don’t deal with numbers. That’s not my job,” Kelly said, when asked if he felt Jackson was worth the salary, deferring to general manager Howie Roseman.
Kelly added that Jackson has not approached the team about sweetening his contract. He said he got along well with Jackson in 2013, and that Jackson “did a good job” fitting into the team concept. “He played 16 games for us, practiced every day. I had no issues with him,” he said.
Kelly was asked how the Eagles’ offense could possibly be better without Jackson on the team, and said, “I don’t think our offense has ever been predicated on one player. We used three quarterbacks last year. We used multiple running backs. Our tight ends are integral to what we do. I think we have an outstanding offensive line. It’s never been about just one guy.
“It’s why I think we have diversity. I mean, we were first in rushing and I think ninth in passing. I think there is balance in terms of how we do things. You want great players at every position and I think that’s what we’re always striving for in terms of where we can put people into position. It’s never been predicated on just one guy, because if it is, if he’s out for a water break or hurt for an extended period of time, then you’re going to be in trouble.”Covered Patriots since 1997
Joined ESPN in 2009

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