Washington Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson told ESPN The Magazine that he has never been in a gang and that his hand gestures that have been interpreted as gang signs are dedicated to his childhood friends.

In the interview, Jackson denied reports that he is affiliated with gangs but acknowledged he knows people who are in them. He said the hand gestures he uses during games or on social media are not gang-related.

"If I score a touchdown or make a play and my boys at home can see me throwing up the area we're from, that's me showing them love," Jackson said. "They weren't fortunate enough to make it where I'm at. All my friends wanted to be in the NFL growing up, but they weren't able to do that and I was. That doesn't mean I forgot about them. They're my boys, I grew up with them, and I'm going to give them love."

Jackson, 27, signed with the Redskins in early April, less than a week after he was released by the Philadelphia Eagles. NJ.com had reported that the Eagles were concerned about Jackson's alleged gang ties.

"Those were neighborhood Crip gang signs," a Los Angeles police detective said in reference to some of Jackson's hand signs during a game against the Redskins last year.

According to the report, Theron Shakir, a rapper signed to Jackson's Jaccpot Records music label, and a man named Marques Binns were arrested and charged with a gang-related homicide in 2010. Shakir was acquitted in 2013. Binns, who said he does not know Jackson, was convicted and received a prison sentence of 15 years to life.

Other reports indicated that the Eagles cut Jackson because of his attitude and contract.

The Eagles have maintained that the decision was purely football-related. Jackson had 82 catches for 1,332 yards with nine touchdowns in 2013.