McNabb Meets the Press
By Lance Epstein
It was a sight to see, McNabb holding up a red and yellow Redskins jersey with the No. 5 and "McNabb" on the back. What might have been harder for Eagles fans to swallow was saying he was a hated Redskin.
"I'm a Redskin now ... I would have loved to, but it didn't happen," McNabb said.
When those words came out of his mouth, he claimed to be relieved that the whole saga of him being traded is over. He stated this is the start of a new chapter in his life and hopes it will be as successful as it was when he played for the Eagles.
"I’m just happy that it’s all over from where it all started at the end of the season to where we are now," he said. "There was never any burden on my shoulders [in Philadelphia]. I was part of a lot of different things in my 11 years to be surrounded by a lot of great athletes, but it’s over. I’m here and starting a new chapter in the book of Donovan. I look for great things to happen."
McNabb discussed his move to the Redskins as the start of something new and hopefully he can accomplish what he could not in Philadelphia, bringing home a championship. He believes Washington has the players in place and organizational structure to make a run at a title.
"This is a different stage from the norm and what I'm used to," he said. "There are days in life you go through change, you find a light at the end of the tunnel here with a great organization that wants to win and wants to win now.
"I'm surrounded by a great group of players that are willing to put in the effort to win a Super Bowl ... For 11 years playing under a future Hall of Fame coach and now playing under another Hall of Fame coach and the things he has accomplished with great quarterbacks like John Elway. I hope I can continue that."
Maybe McNabb is onto something because many of his new teammates were at his introductory press conference to show the unity of the team. (He even showed up to meet and workout with them earlier in the morning.)
"One person cannot achieve this," McNabb said. "You achieve that by team ... I will promise to give [my teammates] all that I have. Everything I've been a part of we've won. We may not have won the Super Bowl, but we've won."
Fortunately for the Redskins, he explained why he could strive in head coach Mike Shanahan's offense because it is similar. Yet he also talked about having to make some adjustments in entering the new offense for the first time in 11 seasons.
“The offenses are somewhat similar but very different," McNabb said. "In talking to coach Shanahan, he’s been through a lot of offenses. I have been in two. There will be a change. I'm looking forward to going in and studying to make sure it will be second nature to me and going out and make plays.”
Shockingly, McNabb took a jab at former head coach Andy Reid and his lack of running the football.
“A lot of you in Philly probably don’t know much about the run game, but we will run the ball here,” McNabb said.
McNabb then referred to himself as “the guy that orchestrates everything, making sure they are confident and ready to go out and make plays for you.”
After a couple of questions about his new team and a jab at his former, the media asked him about his relationship with his former team. When he was asked to explain the Eagles decision to trade him, he said maybe he was too old.
"You need to ask them that. I have no answer ...You have seen the offseason. They're rebuilding and they're going younger. I never knew 33 was old, but I guess I'm too old and they are going young."
Furthermore, McNabb reiterated that he learned that anything is possible from the Eagles' organization considering they let Brian Dawkins, the "ultimate Eagle" leave after he gave his heart and soul to the organization.
"I'm here in Washington and I'm excited to be here," McNabb said. "We knew the [Eagles] were listening to offers from the beginning."
Although McNabb says he feels like he is young again because of the excitement he has to have a renaissance in his career.
"It feels like being drafted again. It feels like I’m 22 again. The body might not respond that way again ... One thing we need to focus in on: We talk so much on me, me, me … It takes all of us to achieve that common goal. We shouldn’t focus so much on myself. We should focus on the team."
While the media loves to claim (and rightfully so for only a quarter of the fan base), the fans treated that McNabb unfairly, he did not feel that way and it would have been too much of a distraction if he did.
"I felt I was treated fairly,” McNabb said. “Never had you heard me complain about the fans and media. That is not a concern of mine. I blocked that out.”
As for facing his former team twice a year, McNabb does not view it as a big deal. He claims it is not any bigger of a deal then facing Dallas or the Giants; he just wants to win.
"I don't look at it like it will be any different than Dallas or the Giants ... Another opportunity to face a quality opponent and bring home a victory,” McNabb said.
One of the final questions answered at the press conference was the message to the Eagle fans that boo'd him on draft day. His words might resonate through the fans' heads if they revert back to the Pre-McNabb era.
"For 11 years, I want to thank him for giving me an opportunity to display my talent and be put in a position to get drafted when they were 3-13, going 5-11 and then averaging 9-10 wins a season," McNabb said. “For 11 years, to make five NFC championships and a Super Bowl appearance.
"Yes, we didn’t win it, but it was a great ride. It was a ride in which every time we stepped out on the field, the fans were confident that we could win that game. I look to bring that here to Washington."
Finally, McNabb held up his new jersey, allowed the light bulbs to flash and the final chapter in McNabb-Eagles had officially come to an end.
Other Quotes from the Press Conference:
Mike Shanahan On Bein Able to Get McNabb:
"I didn’t think there was really going to be an opportunity to get Donovan. It all came fairly quickly. At the end of the day, I was a little bit surprised, and not shocked but very excited."
Shanahan on His Past Experience with Older Quarterbacks:
"When I went to Denver, John Elway was entering his 13th year. When I was in San Francisco, Steve Young was in his 11th year. When you do have a quarterback that has won, a quarterback who knows how to lead, who can set the standard, it doesn't happen to have the opportunity to get players like that with the situation we are ... I feel very fortunate to have not only a quarterback but a person like Donovan."
McNabb Quote on a Contract Extension:
“That’s not my focus … I’ve landed here in Washington and I’m very excited about that. As far as anything else that might take care of itself or it might not.”