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Eagles coach Kelly discussesdecision to release Jackson

Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly ended a month of public silence about DeSean Jackson on Monday by explaining the move to release the Pro Bowl receiver was “purely a football decision.” He said the timing of Jackson’s release came from the team’s inability to find a trade partner.

“We were going in a different direction at the wide-receiver position,” Kelly said. “Has nothing to do with anything that was ever written in a newspaper article or any off-field behavior from him. DeSean was great the year I was with him.”

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Kelly said Jackson “came to practice and did everything we asked him to do,” denying there was any discord with the former Eagle. The coach attempted to dispel the notion Jackson’s off-field activity was the impetus for the decision to release him March 28.

“I’ve never had one issue with DeSean,” Kelly said. “I’ll say that publicly. He never yelled at me, I never yelled at him on the practice field.”

Jackson, 27, has signed with Washington. He is coming off the best season of his career, with 82 catches for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns. Kelly said even if releasing Jackson does not make sense to outsiders from a football perspective, it makes sense to him and the Eagles’ front office, “and that’s the most important point.”

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said, “Chip and his people were incredibly clear that for us to get better, we need to take a step back and reconfigure the wide-receiver position. And for Chip on offense, it just wasn’t a good fit. It just was not a good fit with what he asks wide receivers to do.”

When asked why Jackson was released less than an hour after an report that claimed the receiver has gang connections, Kelly said the timing was based on the team’s arrival from the league meetings without a trade offer.

St. Louis holds on to Quinn

The St. Louis Rams have exercised the fifth-year contract option on All-Pro defensive end Robert Quinn, keeping one of the league’s top pass rushers in the fold through 2015.

Quinn, 23, set a franchise record with 19 sacks last season. All first-round draft picks get four-year contracts, with a fifth-year option for the team that must be picked up after the player’s third season.

Browns take a look at Young

Free-agent quarterback Vince Young, assuming he passes a physical, is expected to participate in Cleveland’s minicamp this week. Young hasn’t played in a regular-season game since 2011 with Philadelphia.

Young, drafted third overall by Tennessee in 2006, is 31-19 as a starter.

Meanwhile, former Browns QB Bernie Kosar, 50, pleaded no contest to a reckless-operation charge after blaming knee and ankle surgeries for not performing a field sobriety test during a traffic stop last year.

Kosar had been charged with driving under the influence in September, but he entered a plea to the lesser charge and received a $750 fine and suspended jail sentence.

Bears’ Morgan faces charges

Chicago Bears receiver Josh Morgan, who spent the past two NFL seasons with Washington, has been arrested and charged with simple assault for allegedly punching a man outside a Washington nightclub. Morgan, 28, told WRC-TV in Washington he didn’t touch the man.

Giants sign ex-Titan Smith

The New York Giants signed quarterback Rusty Smith, 27, who spent the last four seasons with the Tennessee Titans. He hasn’t played in a game since 2012.

College football

San Jose St. LB suffers burns

San Jose State linebacker Jared Leaf is in critical condition after suffering burns to his body while escaping from a fire in his apartment near campus Wednesday, family members said.

Leaf is a transfer from Hawaii.

College basketball

Anderson to coach Missouri

Missouri has hired Kim Anderson as coach.

Anderson, a former Missouri player and assistant coach, coached the Central Missouri Mules to the NCAA Division II championship this year. Anderson, 58, will replace Frank Haith, who left to coach Tulsa.


Carli Lloyd, a two-time Olympic gold medalist who is a midfielder for the Western New York Flash, has been suspended for two games by the National Women’s Soccer League for using excessive force in a 1-0 loss at Chicago on April 19.

Lloyd was issued a yellow card for pulling down Red Stars midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo from behind by her jersey. As DiBernardo was falling, Lloyd swung around and struck her in the face.

Lloyd called the play “inexcusable” and apologized to DiBernardo in a statement.

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