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Is DeSean Jackson a Bigger Headache for the Philadelphia Eagles than Terrell Owens?

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DeSean JacksonAs the Philadelphia Eagles' disastrous 2011 season comes down to the final four weeks of meaningless football, there is a ton of speculation about the future of this once proud organization.

Could Andy Reid be fired? Could Howie Roseman follow him out the door? What will Reid's (potential) firing mean for the bevy of defensive players who were brought in this season?

The reality is we could be seeing a changing of the guard, and it can mean sweeping changes throughout the organization.

One player who is unlikely to be here next year is DeSean Jackson, who pretty much lost any good will he once had with the majority of the fanbase, just one year after the Miracle at the Meadowlands III.

Jackson, who was in a contract-season, has had a brutal year - notching just 43 receptions for 698 yards and 2 touchdowns. These are numbers you would associate with a number three receiver, certainly not a number one receiver - let alone somebody who will most likely command a contract similar to Santonio Holmes' 5-year $45 million deal.

Jackson planted the seed a year ago, dropping lines like "they're going to have to do something," with regards to reported talks between Jackson's agent Drew Rosenhaus and the Eagles' front office. Of course, the multi-million dollar deal never materialized, the lockout happened, and this continued to fester. Jackson is making $600,000 this season, while Jason Avant and Jeremy Maclin are both making more money.

Jackson's attitude went down the drain during training camp when he saw the money being thrown around by the Eagles' front office during their preseason spending spree. Thus, he took it upon himself to hold out of camp for a few weeks. Once he ended his holdout however, he vowed to be a good soldier.

"The relationship I have with the team and the front office, I think everything will work out," Jackson said. "I'm just going to keep everything positive. I don't want to turn it into anything negative. I love Philadelphia. I love the fans here. Coming back out here onto the field, the fans showed me a lot of love and stuff. I just want to keep that positive thing going."

At the time, I didn't think there was anyway he would live up to that.

Turn the page four months later and he has not only failed to produce any games with multiple touchdowns, but he has just two 100-yard games the entire season. And as a punt returner, he has been pedestrian - averaging just 7.3 yards per return with no touchdowns.

Ever since he had his breakout game against the 49ers (6 catches for 171 yards) and a solid game against the Bills (5 catches for 86 yards and 1 TD) he has gone 6 games without a touchdown. When you look inside the numbers over this 6-game span, it gets uglier. He has just 22 catches for 288 yards and ZERO touchdowns. If you averaged that out over an entire season, Jackson would finish with 59 catches and 767 yards. DeSean Jackson ignoring Vince YoungHe's obviously better than that.

Things are so bad that Jackson apparently stared off into space while Vince Young was attempting to talk to him on the sidelines during their ugly 31-14 defeat at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks.

After the game, Jackson was asked about the incident by reporters and used the infamous "next question" line coined by Drew Rosenhaus during the infamous press conference in 2005.

Despite all of this - DeSean Jackson is not another Terrell Owens. When people bring up the DeSean Jackson - Terrell Owens analogy, it's not even close. Jackson might be selfish and quit on his team, but he's not a disruption in the locker room and hasn't created a rift on this team like Owens did in 2005. There are plenty of players who have quit on the team and will also be punching their ticket out of town (like Asante Samuel), but they aren't on TO's level either.

Owens was and is the benchmark for a me-first distraction in Philly. From Ricky Watters to Glenn Robinson and Derrick Coleman, there have been many prima donnas who came through Philly, but Owens single-handedly destroyed the Eagles' 2005 season after losing the Super Bowl by just three points. T.O. was a media circus and helped divide the locker room into two camps: his and McNabbb's.

Jackson is a major reason for the Eagles' disappointing 2011 season. If he truly wanted to, he could go out there and get 70 catches for 1,400 yards and 12 TDs and prove he's one of the elite receivers in the league, worthy of elite money.

Instead, he chose to sulk and phone it in.


 

Contact Dennis Bakay at dbakay@philly2philly.com

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Photo of DeSean Jackson from AP

Photo of DeSean Jackson and Vince Young from the NFL Network