Donovan McNabb Heads Back To Philly For “Just A Normal Game”
Talk about your subplots. As if a story that saw a quarterback who had been with the same franchise since being drafted 11 years prior get traded within the division – the best division in the NFL – was not bizarre enough, now that quarterback is returning back to his old home stadium after a loss to the worst team in the league to find his expected replacement on the bench and an ex-convict in his place leading one of the best teams in the league. Whoa.
Everyone knows that Donovan McNabb is going back to Philadelphia this week when his Redskins take on the Eagles. But lost in the focus on if the crowd will boo or cheer is that McNabb just lost to the St. Louis Rams – and that Michael Vick looks like an MVP candidate. In all honesty, the Eagles fans should cheer for McNabb for the simple fact that he beat the Dallas Cowboys, yet has found a way in the games since to go from that big win to the relative irrelevancy in the NFC East that the Redskins have had in the past few seasons. These are two different teams that appear to be headed in two different directions. The quarterbacks – all three of them – will get far too much credit and blame for that, but there really is not that much that separates any of them. It’s the other 87 guys who will take the field on Sunday that will dictate the outcome of this game.
Donovan McNabb joined the Sports Fix on ESPN 980 in Washington, DC to discuss how he views this Sunday’s game at Philadelphia, whether he thinks the Eagles fans will boo or cheer him, if he ever thought that he would be facing Michael Vick in this game as the starter, the role he played in bringing Vick to the Eagles and if he will talk to any of his former teammates this week.
On if he views Sunday’s game differently than any other game:
“I’ve always said that I look at it just like a normal game. In this situation, it’s a game that the Washington Redskins need to win. It wouldn’t matter if we were playing the Redskins, Cowboys-Skins, Giants. It doesn’t matter. After the last two weeks of a game we should have won and another game we should have won, this is a must win situation for us. That’s the way we are going to approach this every week. We look forward to the challenge… It’s a story. I think it gives everyone an opportunity to really focus in on the 11 years I spent in Philadelphia, what the reaction may be going to be going into the stadium, two teams in a better position in the NFC East and the hoopla behind it.”
On what he expects his reception to be by the Philadelphia fans:
“I truly haven’t (thought about it). I think everyone else that I’ve talked to has and rightfully so. I’ve been on the other side of the tide with the other guys that have come in. The Brian Dawkins, Troy Vincent. The list goes on, Jeremiah Trotter. It’s different because it’s not just you and I’m the quarterback. In this situation, I’ve got to be open-minded to see what is kind of going to happen. Everyone wants to know how I would feel this week, how are my emotions? I can’t answer that right now. Right now it’s just focusing on the Philadelphia Eagles defense and making sure we have an answer for their blitzes. I think that I will have an answer for you during the game. Right now, I’m all in with the Washington Redskins to try to win this game and change things around here.”
On if he ever thought that he would be facing Michael Vick in this game instead of Kevin Kolb:
“You know what? I didn’t. I really didn’t. Everybody likes to think that I am Nostradamus because I said, ‘Watch out for Michael Vick,’ but I never officially said that Michael Vick was going to start. I just said, ‘Watch out for Michael Vick,’ knowing that he had a great off-season. It’s not McNabb vs. Michael Vick or McNabb vs. Kevin Kolb. It’s the Eagles vs. the Redskins. It just so happens that I’m no longer in an Eagles uniform. I’m in a Redskins uniform and that’s how I am going to approach it all week… When you make a trade like (Andy) did within the division, you have all your eggs in one basket with Kevin so to speak. I think that goes from the owner to the president to the GM obviously feeling confident with that move and then with Andy. Everyone thought that Kevin Kolb would be their guy.”
On how involved he was in signing Michael Vick:
“I wasn’t able to write up his contract. I wasn’t able to fly him in myself personally. I’m studying trying to learn how to fly planes. For me personally, it was a suggestion that I brought up. I think he got out of jail June 21st or something to that effect. I brought it up to Andy I believe in that week because I had talked to Mike personally once he got out and got settled. I brought it up to Andy about having an opportunity to mentor him, get him back on his feet. I thought the guys could support him, give him direction, get him back on his feet. I brought it up again to him in training camp. It was just a conversation. We laughed about it. We talked about pros and cons and moved on. Then Kevin got hurt in training camp. He hurt his knee in training camp. I remember I took some of the offensive guys out, the big guys out for a little meal to spend time together, team building and stuff. That’s something I like to do. I got a phone call from Andy asking was I serious about it. At first I thought he may be joking because that conversation happened weeks ago. He brought it up and I told him I thought it would be a good move for us. I was happy for Mike, but I was more pleased with Andy being able to put everything aside and we may be faced with outsiders and hoopla that may come with it. It says a lot about Andy as a person. For a person that went through some struggles with his kids, being able to step up and be willing to take this across the chin along with me and Mike.”
And on if he will talk to anyone on the Eagles this week:
“I’m not talking to anyone over there – I’m just kidding. I will. I have talked to Kevin. I’ve talked to Mike these past weeks. I’ve talked to Andy… I haven’t yet (this week). I’m talking to the two quarterbacks leading up to this week. I think this week will be the same, even keel as far as us communicating, just seeing how things are going, wish each other luck… We have a job to do. That’s my mindset. I just want to be prepared for what we are doing.”