PHILADELPHIA — Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson probably has played his last game for coach Andy Reid.
Defensive end Jason Babin definitely has.
Reid announced Tuesday that Jackson — the team’s leading receiver — will miss the rest of the season after suffering broken ribs in Monday’s 30-22 loss to Carolina.
Jackson was plac-ed on the new injured-reserve list that allows him to return later this season but the only way he can play again is if the Eagles reach the Super Bowl.
Three hours later, Reid released Babin, who had registered just 51/2 sacks this season after posting 18 in 2011.
“We appreciate everything that Jason has given this team over the last couple of years,” Reid said in a statement late Tuesday afternoon. “We wish him all the best as he continues his career. By releasing him today, this gives us an opportunity to give more playing time to some of the younger guys in the defensive line rotation.”
Babin was viewed as an NFL bust before resurrecting his career under Eagles defensive line coach Jim Washburn. Babin initially flourished under Washburn’s “Wide 9” scheme, earning 121/2 sacks with Tennessee in 2010. When Washburn joined the Eagles, Babin followed by signing a five-year, $28 million contract and made the Pro Bowl last season.
He fell well short of earning the $5.575 million he was making in base salary this season, however. He was one of the players penalized for the Eagles’ three consecutive offsides penalties in the fourth quarter that led to the Panthers’ clinching touchdown.
Both Cincinnati and Detroit employ the “Wide 9” system. The Bengals, who play the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on Dec. 13, may take a shot at adding him for their run toward a playoff berth.
The 32-year-old had not exactly endeared himself to Eagles’ fans this season. Babin questioned their loyalty on Twitter after hearing what he described as “vile chants” from the stands at the Linc after a 30-17 loss to Atlanta on Oct. 28.
When the Eagles returned home to face Dallas on Nov. 11, the public address system turned up the volume of the music in part to drown out the boos that accompanied Babin’s introduction.
“There are 17 teams with the same record or worse than us,” Babin wrote on Twitter after the loss to the Falcons. “Thanks for being loyal fans. We’ll get it right.”
That number has since dwindled. With a 3-8 record, the Eagles are among six teams with three wins or fewer, along with Carolina (3-8), Cleveland (3-8), Oakland (3-8), Jacksonville (2-9) and Kansas City (1-10).
Reid is expected to be fired after the season. The Eagles have now lost seven straight and can finish no better than 8-8. Owner Jeffrey Lurie made it clear during his preseason address that another mediocre record would not be tolerated.
“There’s a fine line between winning and losing in the National Football League,” Reid said Tuesday during his weekly news conference at the NovaCare Complex. “The only way we can (end the losing streak) is to keep working hard.”
If Lurie decides to grant Reid a reprieve, he could cite the rash of injuries that have hit the team this season as a reason for bringing Reid back for a 15th season.
Jackson became the fourth projected starter on offense to be placed on injured reserve, following right tackle Todd Herremans (dislocated bone in foot), center Jason Kelce (torn knee ligaments) and left tackle Jason Peters (ruptured Achilles’ tendon).
In addition, quarterback Michael Vick (concussion) has missed two games and is likely to sit out next Sunday’s rematch at Dallas. Running back LeSean McCoy (concussion) sat out against the Panthers and also is a longshot to play against the Cowboys.
Jackson was hurt in the first quarter against the Panthers while gaining 2 yards on an end-around. He landed on the football while being tackled by Panthers rookie linebacker Luke Kuechly. Jackson walked off the field under his own power and was taken to the locker room for X-rays.
The team announced during the game that X-rays were negative, but further tests revealed multiple rib fractures in his upper chest, Reid said.
Jackson and Reid have enjoyed an up-and-down relationship since Jackson joined the team as a second-round draft pick in 2008. On Nov. 1, 2009, Jackson celebrated a 54-yard touchdown against the New York Giants by executing a high-flying hip bump with Reid on the sideline.
But last season, Jackson was bumped from the lineup. Reid deactivated him for a game against Arizona after Jackson overslept and missed a team meeting the day before the game.
Jackson, who signed a four-year, $51 million contract in the offseason, is currently the team’s leading receiver with 45 catches for 700 yards. His two receiving touchdowns rank third on the Eagles behind wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (four) and McCoy (three).
Rookie Damaris Johnson likely will replace Jackson in the starting lineup. He joins a ragtag offensive cast that also includes center Dallas Reynolds, guard Jake Scott, tackle Dennis Kelly, quarterback Nick Foles and running back Bryce Brown.
Johnson, Kelly, Foles and Brown are all rookies. Reynolds had never played in an NFL game until Kelce got hurt the second game of the season against Baltimore. Scott was out of the league until signing with the Eagles two weeks ago.
The Eagles’ season-long offensive troubles continued against the Panthers. Brown was a bright spot, setting a team rookie record with 178 yards rushing while also scoring two touchdowns. But he also lost two fumbles. Foles was largely a non-factor, completing 16-of-21 passes for 119 yards with no TDs or interceptions.
The Eagles have yet to score more than 24 points in a game this season. The last time they went an entire season without reaching that mark was in 1998 under coach Ray Rhodes, offensive coordinator Dana Bible and quarterback Bobby Hoying.
“Injuries are not an excuse,” Reid said Tuesday. “That’s not where we’re at. The next guy comes in and the next guy plays. There are no excuses with that.”
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