DeSean Jackson connected to LA gang, per report

Mike Ehrmann

Prior to being released by the Eagles, a report surfaced linking wide receiver DeSean Jackson to Los Angeles street gang members.

Former Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson had ties to street gang members in Los Angeles, according to a report released Friday by NJ.com.

The report came out on that same day that Jackson was released from the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles have been reportedly trying to trade Jackson for three weeks. His salary cap number, missed meetings and his relationship with coach Chip Kelly were cited in Friday's report and several other reports as the reasons for the team wanting to cut ties with Jackson.

Jackson is coming off a career season in 2013, but people within the Eagles' organization were reportedly concerned about the wide receiver's reputation and potential as a negative influence in the locker room. Per the report:

Desean Jackson Release

Ever since New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was arrested and charged with first-degree murder last summer, NFL franchises have been reevaluating how closely they needed to watch their players away from the field. And what Eagles executives see in Jackson, a six-year veteran, is apparently a potential blight on the brand and a bad influence in the locker room.

As a source within the Eagles organization, who requested anonymity, put it: "They are concerned about having him around the younger players."

NJ.com found that Jackson had been interviewed by the LAPD concerning his connection to Theron Shakir, a purported member of the Crips and friend of Jackson's who was implicated in the 2010 murder of 14-year-old Taburi Watson. The detective who interviewed Jackson in 2011, Eric Crosson, described Jackson as "cooperative at the time." Crosson made the Eagles aware of Jackson's connection with the alleged killer a year before the organization signed the wideout to a five-year, $48.5 million deal. Shakir was eventually acquitted.

Jackson once again popped up on the radar of the LAPD when a 2012 gang-related murder was found to have taken place in a building that was owned or leased by a member of Jackson's family. Crosson once again investigated the matter, and found documents belonging to Jackson including a car title, a New Jersey gun permit and several credit card receipts. Crosson attempted to contact Jackson but was unable to reach him.

Crosson added that the LAPD has no hard evidence that Jackson is part of a gang, but that Jackson had flashed Crips-related gang signs several times on social media and during games. Last season against the Washington Redskins, he reportedly flashed a Crips "C" sign in front of cornerback DeAngelo Hall (via Larry Brown Sports).

Shakir recorded music for Jackson's record label, Jaccpot Records. Jackson even posted a picture of Shakir to his Instagram account while Shakir was awaiting trial with the caption "Free Trezzy."

The NJ.com report uncovered additional off-field problems Jackson's dealt with since joining the Eagles. He was arrested in September 2009 for possession of marijuana, disturbing the peace and having illegally tinted windows on his car. Jackson accepted a plea deal which dropped the marijuana and tinted windows charges in exchange for pleading guilty to disturbing the peace six months later.

Jackson thanked the Eagles for his time there and denied any affiliation with gang members in a statement issued Friday afternoon after his release.

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