The Philadelphia Eagles did the unthinkable Sunday night when they traded Donovan McNabb to a division opponent, the Washington Redskins. McNabb has had a love/hate relationship with Eagles fans ever since he was drafted to a shower of boos back in the ’99 NFL Draft. Now Eagles fans got what they have asked for, McNabb is now out of town, although I am not sure they like seeing him with the Redskins. Philadelphia has been known to ship out aging veterans on the down slope of their careers a year or two early rather than a year or two late, but to trade him to a division opponent is, in my opinion, bad practice.
The last time the Eagles traded a quarterback to the Redskins was Sonny Jurgensen back in and we all know what kind of career he had. For the Eagles sake, hopefully Andy Reid and Company were right and McNabb’s better days are behind him, but I am not sure if that is the case. During the ’08-’09 seasons combined, McNabb amassed 7,469 yards, 45 TD’s and 21 INT’s. Those are his most productive years in his eleven years as a pro. The emergence of Kevin Kolb and McNabb’s failure to bring the Eagles home a championship is what made McNabb expendable. McNabb was always underappreciated in Philly, but he will get the last laugh because he can now torment his former team twice a season. Redskins leader and middle linebacker London Fletcher joined Fox Sports Radio to talk about the Redskins acquiring Donovan McNabb, the impact he thinks that Donovan McNabb will have on their offense, and how much a move like this excites him to get back to work.
On acquiring Donovan McNabb:
“Oh man you talk about excitement. I was extremely excited when I heard the news about Donovan McNabb being traded to our football team. I heard about the interest and stuff that we had expressed over the weekend and I was thinking that there was no way the Eagles are going to trade him within the division so I didn’t think much of it. Then last night I was getting off of the plane and I was getting all of these text messages saying that McNabb has been traded to us. Needless to say, I was excited, beyond excitement.”
The impact he thinks that Donovan McNabb will have on their offense:
“Well let’s look at it from this standpoint. It has been a while since a team has won a Super Bowl without improved quarterback play. I think that you need a dominate player at that position. With the exception of the New York Jets last year, the franchise had a young guy, you look at the final four teams in the playoffs last year, all of them had elite players at that position, at quarterback. If you are not going to be elite at the quarterback position, you have to be elite at the defense and running the football. With us having McNabb and his ability, if he is able to stay healthy at least we have an elite player at this position and the stakes have been raised for us as far as our expectations.”
Whether he has seen a decline in McNabb’s playing the last couple of years for the Eagles to think he has started to fade out:
“Well you look at historically the Philadelphia Eagles organization, guys have gotten up there in the latter part of their careers and they have let guys move on through free agency or just have released him. You look at Brian Dawkins recently he was let go. Brian Westbrook, some of the other guys in the past like Troy Vincent, guys like that who have been a great player for them for years and they have let those guys go a year or two early as opposed to a year or two late, in their mindset. With McNabb, he is a quarterback. He is thirty-three years old, but at the quarterback position that is not old. I wouldn’t say that is old because you look at Brett Favre, who is forty-years old and still playing football and still playing at a high level as well. With this, I think that it was a little bit of business as well with them in the sense of them letting him go.”
How much a move like this excites him to get back to work:
“The excitement with our team began with the adding of Bruce Allen as our General Manager last year at the end of the season. Then it continued and got even higher when we added Mike Shanahan as the head football coach. So now we come in and make all of the other moves they moved this offseason and then you trade for Donovan McNabb, a six-time Pro Bowl quarterback, a guy who has taken his team to five NFC Championships and a Super Bowl. You talk about excitement, before we were thinking, ‘Let’s compete for a division championship.’ Now, we are thinking, ‘Let’s compete for a Super Bowl.’ So just to let you know how things have changed around here.”
London Fletcher on Fox Sports Radio with Steve Hartman and Sean Farnham on the McNabb trade