The Eagles were concerned with Jackson's influence on "younger players," says source.
A source said that Jackson missed several team meetings and clashed with head coach Chip Kelly. "They are concerned about having him around younger players," the insider revealed.
As a player, Jackson had a career-best season in 2013 with 82 catches for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns. The 27-year-old reportedly skipped Eagles meetings because of outside influences, so says the source. One of the potentially dangerous affiliations is his ties to Theron Shakir, a rapper on his Jaccpot Records label and alleged member of the Crips gang.
Shakir, aka "T-Ron," was one of two men accused of murdering 14-year-old Tabur Watson for flashing a rival gang sign as he rode his bike through a South L.A. neighborhood in 2010. Shakir has appeared in several Instagram pictures with Jackson, one of which included the caption, "Free Trezzy #Real1 #Jaccpot."
Shakir was acquitted of the murder last year, while co-defendant Marques Binns was convicted and sentenced to 15 years to life.
Jackson has reportedly thrown up some gang signs of his own on Instagram, but he "was not part of the case" involving Shakir, said Jane Robinson, spokesperson for the L.A. District Attorney's Office. "He was not charged as a defendant. He was not a witness," Robinson asserted.
Still, NJ.com claims that the team was so shaky about Jackson's inner circle that letting him go was the best move. Earlier today, Jackson released a statement thanking the Eagles and denying NJ.com's "unfounded" report. "I would like to make it very clear that I am not and never have been part of any gang," he said. "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."
While the Eagles have not confirmed that the gang story was a factor, Jackson has used his notoriety to set a good example. After watching a video of a then 13-year-old boy, Nadin Khoury, getting beaten up by a group of teens, Jackson surprised the youngster on ABC's The View. The two kept in contact over the years, and Jackson gifted Khoury with 2014 Super Bowl tickets during a follow-up segment on the morning talk show in January.
Khoury's story really struck a chord, Jackson said. "After the show, me and my people created the non-profit 'No Bullies in the Huddle,'" he announced, holding up his new children's book bearing the same title. Jackson said he planned on leading a global anti-bullying campaign and credited Khoury for the inspiration. "This man changed my life as well," he said of the teen.
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(Photo: D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Airbnb)