Phil Sheridan | ESPN.com
MINNEAPOLIS — It’s a fine line between competitive fire and friendly fire against your own teammates, and Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson might have crossed it in Sunday’s 48-30 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
After a pass intended for Jackson was intercepted by Minnesota’s Shaun Prater, Fox cameras captured an altercation on the Eagles’ sideline. Jackson was visibly upset and had to be held back by teammates and an assistant coach.
“Frustration,” Jackson said. “It’s part of the game.”
Jackson said he was open on the play. By the time quarterback Nick Foles saw him and threw, Prater had time to close and pick off the ball at the Minnesota 5-yard line. Jackson threw up his arms in apparent anger and didn’t chase Prater. He was tackled by Riley Cooper after a 30-yard return.
The sideline eruption occurred right after that.
“I just went over with Jason Avant and tried to squash it,” coach Chip Kelly said. “We’ll get to the bottom of it.”
“The football family is dysfunctional at times,” Avant said. “At times, it gets strenuous. Sometimes the cameras catch that, but it was not a big deal. I was just trying to calm DeSean down. I did not get over there in time, so I don’t know the situation. But when I was talking to him, I told him that people were looking.”
Jackson had a rushing touchdown nullified earlier in the game because of an illegal block penalty called on Foles. With the Eagles down 24-9 in the third quarter, he thought he had another score.
“I feel like I was open,” Jackson said. “I guess Nick wasn’t able to see me right away. It took a little bit for the ball to get there.”
He said he didn’t realize Prater was there until it was too late.
“It was just a bad throw,” Foles said. “It was as simple as that.”
As for Jackson’s tirade, Foles shrugged it off.
“DeSean is a competitor and he wears his emotions on his sleeve,” Foles said. “He was frustrated with what was going on because he wants to win so badly and he wants to make plays so badly. I understand DeSean and I understand the frustration. You just let him cool down a little bit and then he is all right.
“He just has so much heart and passion that he wanted to make a play and I didn’t put him in a good position. The one thing that I said to him out there was to stay with me. I am going to keep firing them at you and he stayed with me the whole game. We will have a better relationship because of it.”
Foles targeted Jackson 16 times. He caught 10 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown.
“We had a lot riding on this game today,” Jackson said. “In my eyes, I know how big of a game this was. That’s why I was trying to do everything I can to win this game. There was a little bit of frustration here and there on the field.”
- Spent past decade as sports columnist
at Philadelphia Inquirer
- Philadelphia native has covered Eagles
in various roles since 1985