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Report: 'Lackadaisical' JC Jackson Refused to Go into a Game for the Chargers and GM Tom Telesco Apologized for Signing Him

Maddie Meyer. Getty Images.

You might need a the James Webb Space Telescope to search the universe to find any bright spots from yesterday's loss to Washington. But if you did, the very short list could very well include JC Jackson. In a game in which the Patriots allowed Sam Howell to complete 29 passes for 325 yards, Jackson was targeted twice, both in coverage on Byron Pringle, giving up one catch for 16 yards. Despite playing 53 total snaps.

Which is pretty much par for Jackson's New England course since the Patriots reacquired him from the Chargers a month and a half ago. In his five games since coming back, he's given up a catch rate of just over 50% and less than 40 yards a game. This despite spending a lot of time sticking with the opposition's top target. His seamless transition back to Foxboro has helped mitigate the disaster that was losing Christian Gonzalez for the season better than even the most shameless Patriots optimist [my hand raises itself] could've ever hoped for. 

All of which makes the mystery of what on Earth could've possibly happened in LA that they'd sign one of the most lusted after free agents of 2022 for $82 million, then trade him in the mid-season of 2023 for an exchange of late round dimes and nickels two years from now, even more mysteriously mysterious.

And according to ESPN, we have our answer. Things between Jackson and the Chargers wasted no time getting butt ugly:

Source - AS THE DEFENSIVE backs meeting was ending, Los Angeles Chargers general manager Tom Telesco walked to the front of the room.

It was Week 6, the group's first meeting since the Chargers traded cornerback J.C. Jackson to the New England Patriots for a swap of late-round picks, just over a year after signing him to a five-year $82.5 million contract in March of 2022. Telesco stood in front of the group and began to apologize.

Telesco told the group that signing Jackson was a mistake, according to multiple team sources. He apologized for continuing to give Jackson opportunities, despite Jackson routinely showing that he wasn't as committed as the rest of the team while being one of the Chargers' highest paid players.

Telesco called the move a "swing and a miss."

The apology was a shocking admission, but Telesco's points weren't a secret in the organization. … 

Many within the organization believed Jackson approached practices with a "lackadaisical" attitude and didn't respond well to coaching, according to team sources. In the Chargers' Week 4 game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Jackson refused to go in after he was benched for the first three quarters, telling coaches he wasn't warmed up enough, according to team sources.

In that same game, quarterback Justin Herbert played with a fractured left middle finger, an injury in which Herbert's bone punctured his skin. Herbert didn't miss any snaps. The juxtaposition of those moments was the final straw for the Chargers, according to team sources. …

Jackson had been approaching practice and meetings without a "sense of urgency," team sources said. He didn't respond well to Chargers defensive coaches who reprimanded him the same way they did others for missed assignments or calls, team sources said.  

When the Chargers benched Jackson in Week 3, these habits only got worse, team sources said. Then, a day later, an arrest warrant for an unpaid speeding ticket was issued for Jackson in Massachusetts.

I'll just interject here to point out that things had to be Chernobyl Reactor Unit 4 levels of toxic when an unpaid parking ticket in a state a continent away becomes an issue between a player and his team. I mean, if your husband or your teenage daughter, sure. Go ahead and be honked off about it. But $82.5 million will cover a lot of speeding tickets and Unsafe Driver Points on your insurance.

But Jackson going all Larry Leadfoot while living and working among Massholes, the most aggressive drivers in the country, wasn't the last straw. That would be the way in which he didn't answer the bell in that game where Burrow played with a broken finger:

Jackson stood on the sidelines for nearly three quarters until cornerback Michael Davis tweaked his ankle, and coaches called for Jackson to enter the game. But Jackson refused and stayed on the sideline with his shoes untied, citing that he wasn't warm enough to play, team sources said. Jackson was traded four days later.

That's a bold move indeed. If you're trying to shoot your way out of town, you can try some grandiose plan like Antonio Brown, getting his feet frostbitten in some quack holistic clinic somewhere and bitch about how your helmet doesn't fit. But that just makes you look like a nutjob. Jackson went for the microaggression. "Oh, sorry. I can't go in. My shoelaces are untied. And besides, I've been standing here so long in this domed stadium with the Southern California sun beating down through the glass roof that I've come down with a chill. Do be a good lad and send someone else in on my behalf?" Utterly ruthless way to conduct yourself while you're cashing those massive paychecks. 

One would have to be the worst kind of cynic to say that Bill Belichick orchestrated the whole thing and told Jackson how to force a trade. Besides, with all the problems he's got going at the moment, I'm in no mood for that narrative. Let's just give Jackson all the credit. He probably was frustrated with the way the Chargers run their organization. Which has been a part of the Chargers existence since Sid Gillman won the 1963 AFL Championship. He heard the news about Gonzalez. Knew he was still in the good graces of the entire Patriots staff. Saw his opportunity to press the issue. Played Telesco and Brandon Staley like a couple of Fender Stratocasters. Got everything he wanted. And the Pats the cornerback they so desperately needed.

But if I was the Chargers' owner, there's only one way I'd accept that apology: