Not long before the Philadelphia Eagles announced the release of DeSean Jackson, NJ.com reported the team was concerned by the pro bowl wide receiver's "gang connections."
It was reported that Jackson had relationships with two gang members linked to homicides in Los Angeles since 2010. The LAPD is now saying it has never linked the former Eagle to gang-related activity and that he wasn't a suspect in the homicide investigations.
"It's kind of like 'Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,' " LAPD Homicide Det. Chris Barling told the Philadelphia Daily News. "When people grow up in neighborhoods where you have gang involvement, you don't have to look too far before you find a connection to a connection.
"Now, how sinister that connection is, our position is that's for others to judge."
The LAPD did try to contact Jackson through the Eagles about a 2011 shooting, Barling said.
"They didn't return the call," he told the Daily News, "but we came across a number for him and had a conversation. It was nothing confrontational; he answered our questions."
They did so one again in 2012 when a shooting occurred outside a property owned by Jackson, but Barling said there was no evidence to suggest that he was involved.
"There's no other investigation that I'm aware of where Mr. Jackson's name has come up," Barling said. "It's clear he was not involved the homicides"
Jackson has denied any gang connections. The Eagles have not addressed NJ.com's reports.