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Bucs lukewarm on DeSean Jackson interest

Showing off: Bucs players, from left, Doug Martin, Gerald McCoy and Alterraun Verner take part in the unveiling of the new uniforms at an event for season ticket holders at Raymond James Stadium. An estimated 6,000 were in attendance.
Showing off: Bucs players, from left, Doug Martin, Gerald McCoy and Alterraun Verner take part in the unveiling of the new uniforms at an event for season ticket holders at Raymond James Stadium. An estimated 6,000 were in attendance.
Published Mar. 29, 2014

TAMPA — Bucs coach Lovie Smith has seen free agent wide receiver DeSean Jackson, cut Friday by the Eagles, make plays against his team in the passing and return game.

And for that reason, Smith and general manager Jason Licht said Friday that they will consider Jackson but emphasized he would have to be the right fit on and off the field.

"I've had a chance to be on the other side of the field and have watched him make a lot of great plays," Smith said. "He's a great football player. Of course, we look at everyone we think can help us win."

The Bucs were not among the teams Friday to contact Jackson's agent.

Licht was less enthusiastic. "He'd have to be the right fit on and off the field," Licht said. "I don't want to dismiss him right away but we're looking at a bunch of other players, too."

SMITH LIKES MANZIEL: Count Smith among the coaches impressed with Johnny Manziel while attending the former Texas A&M quarterback's pro day workout Thursday in College Station, Texas.

"Johnny had a good workout," Smith said. "You know, the same way he's played throughout his college career. He's a great football player. He almost had a flawless workout. And I know it's choreographed and all that. But he had to complete passes, and he was sharp."

The Bucs own the No. 7 pick in May's draft. Manziel could be gone by that time, but Tampa Bay has not ruled out moving up. "We have a lot of options. We might move up," Smith said. "Jason and I have talked about that, or going back. But if we stay at our seventh pick, we're going to get a good player."

Barth back: Kicker Connor Barth said he is completely healed from an Achilles injury that cost him the 2014 season. "I'm making 61-yard field goals," he said.

NFL: Eagles boot Jackson

PHILADELPHIA — DeSean Jackson went from the trading block to the chopping block Friday.

Unable to find a taker on the trade market, the Eagles released Jackson, ending the Pro Bowl receiver's six-year stint with the team.

The move was made less than an hour after a nj.com report of Jackson's alleged gang connections, including the Los Angeles Police Department linking two murders since 2010 to gang associates of Jackson. The Eagles were not made aware of the report until this week and reportedly did not release Jackson entirely because of the report.

Jackson thanked the Eagles organization and fans in a statement Friday, and also denied "unfounded reports" that he was released for any reason related to his lifestyle.

"I would like to make it very clear that I am not and never have been part of any gang," Jackson, 27, said.

Jackson was coming off a career-best season in Philadelphia, leading the team with 82 catches for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns. He had a $10.25 million contract for the 2014 season and was signed through 2016.

He upset the Eagles when he lobbied for a new contact shortly after they were eliminated in last season's playoffs. His departure leaves the club with Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin as the starting receivers.

Steelers get Blount: Pittsburgh reached a two-year deal with running back LeGarrette Blount. The 27-year-old comes off a productive one-season stint with the Patriots, who acquired him last April in a trade with the Bucs. He likely will be the primary complement to starter Le'Veon Bell in the backfield.

MJD to Raiders: Running back Maurice Jones-Drew is coming home to Oakland after signing a three-year deal. Jones-Drew, 29, returns to his native bay area after spending his first eight seasons with the Jaguars and starring in college at UCLA. He had 8,071 yards rushing and 68 TDs for Jacksonville but was hampered by injuries the past two seasons.

49ers: Cornerback Chris Culliver was arrested on suspicion of felony hit and run and reckless driving after he drove a car into a bicyclist and fled in San Jose, Calif. The bicyclist wasn't seriously hurt.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

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