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Eagles coach Chip Kelly: 'I like DeSean'

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson celebrates his

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson celebrates his touchdown during the first half of a game against the Washington Redskins. (Sept. 9, 2013) Credit: AP

ORLANDO, Fla. - With rumors continuing to swirl about Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson, head coach Chip Kelly said Wednesday that he spoke to Jackson in recent days but refused to definitely say that Jackson would be on the Eagles' roster this season.

"I like DeSean. He did a really nice job for us," Kelly told reporters Wednesday morning at an NFC coaches breakfast at the NFL owners' meetings. "But we're always going to do what's best for the organization."

Kelly declined to be specific about what the two men talked about.

"My conversation with DeSean is between myself and DeSean," Kelly said. "When you deal with situations like that, everything we do is player-to-player, player-to-coach, and we've had a good conversation and we're always going to do what's best for the football team," Kelly said. "He knows where we are and I know where he is, so I feel very comfortable about it."

Jets owner Woody Johnson said on Sunday that the team has interest in Jackson, although the owner indicated the Jets would prefer to sign Jackson if he is released by the Eagles as opposed to trading draft picks for him. Johnson may have violated the spirit of the NFL's tampering rules, which stipulate that owners, executives and coaches from one team cannot speak publicly about a player from another team. Asked if he felt it was tampering, Kelly replied, "I don't get involved in that stuff."

Jackson is due to make $10.5 million this season as part of a five-year, $47-million deal he signed in 2012. Jackson said after last season that he wanted the contract re-worked because he felt he deserved more money coming off a year in which he achieved career highs in receiving yards (1,322) and touchdowns (nine).

Kelly said Jackson never approached the team about a new deal.

"He didn't ask for a new contract," Kelly said. "I think he was asked a question in the locker room post game [after the playoff loss to New Orleans], but DeSean never came to me or never came to anybody and said, 'I wanted a new contract.' "

Asked if he felt Jackson was worth his high salary for next season, Kelly said, "I don't deal with numbers. That's not my job. My decisions are all where do guys play, fit, scheme-wise, all those other things. We have a general overall concept of how we do things, but I don't sit there and punch cap numbers or anything like that."

The Eagles' voluntary off-season workouts begin on April 21, but Kelly didn't speculate about whether Jackson - or any other Eagles' player - would be there.

"I don't anticipate anybody being on the roster at that point in time or I anticipate them all being there," he said. "I've never been, and you guys have been around me for a year, I don't predict the future. So when we get rolling on April 21st, we'll get going. The other thing about April 21st is it's not mandatory for anybody either," Kelly said.

"I anticipate Nick Foles being here for the next 999 years. Last year was 1,000 so now we're down a year," Kelly said, a reference to his quote last year about wanting his quarterback to be around for many years. "When we show up on April 21st we're going to have our first team meeting and we'll go from there."

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