Stephen Rodrick has a Q&A with former Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, now with the Redskins, in the new issue of GQ (an interview that supposedly appears on GQ.com as well — though I couldn’t find it when I looked over there).
The headline is apropos: “Donovan McNabb Helps Us Make Sense of his (Circle One) Wildly Successful/Oddly Disappointing NFL Career.” And it’s a good interview. There are none of those meandering, nonsensical sentences for which McNabb became infamous in the latter stages of his career. There was, possibly, a jab at Terrell Owens.
The latter came when Rodrick asked McNabb to explain the Eagles’ failure to execute anything remotely resembling a hurry-up offense late in the Super Bowl loss to New England at the end of the 2004 season — a lapse often attributed to the fact that McNabb became ill in the huddle.
McNabb denied that. He also said the following, according to Rodrick: “We were trying to figure out if Terrell Owens was in or out, because of his leg (injury). T.O. wanted to be in. So we were trying to rotate different guys in. The play calling was a little slow, maybe, but it made it look like we were just kind of standing around. We were hustling. It was just blown out of proportion.”
Really? Blown out of proportion? C’mon — even Patriots coach Bill Belichick was stunned at how slowly the Eagles went about their business, to the point that he called up to his coaches in the press box and asked them if he had the score right.
Anyway, McNabb followed that up by saying this: “And no, at no point did I throw up. I got hit and dumped on my face a couple of times, I had grass in my helmet, and maybe I lost my wind a little bit, but nothing to the point where I would come out of the game.”
Rodrick also asked McNabb about his admission that he didn’t know NFL games could end in a tie, after the Eagles finished in a deadlock with Cincinnat in 2008.
“The media wants you to be honest and up-front with them, and then when you are, they just throw daggers at you,” McNabb began.
And this is a very good point. We, The Media, need to call a meeting and discuss this sometime.
“There were a lot of responses from other players,” McNabb continued, “who said the same thing I did. I asked the ref, ’How much time is left?’ And the ref is like, ’We’ve got another five minutes after this quarter if no one scores.’ ”
Rodrick then wrote that the NFL had no comment about this.
Finally, McNabb said, “It was a mistake on my part. I’ve got to know the rules.”
McNabb also told Rodrick he met with Andy Reid and Jeffrey Lurie after the 2008 season and “got everything off (his) chest from ’99 on.”
Added McNabb, “It went all the way back to the T.O. situation, to us not winning big games, me being criticized for whatever, and how no one in the organization ever stepped up and said anything. They’ll say something to you in the building, but not publicly. My feeling was, ’I’m out here getting cut up. Where are you? I’m always defending you guys, but where’s the support?’ (The Eagles front office assumed), ’Oh, he’ll be fine. He’ll just blow it off.’ But we all have feelings; we all have families.”
Not all of us have $100 million contracts, though.
McNabb also insisted, as he had before, that it was his idea to sign Michael Vick before last season — that he mentioned it to Reid and was initially rebuffed, only to see Reid change his mind during training camp.
Finally, McNabb was asked about being shipped to Washington in April, for a second-round pick this year (which the Eagles used on safety Nate Allen) and either a third- or fourth-round pick next year.
“When I was traded,” he told Rodrick, “I was just happy that it was over. Every year for the past three or four years, it was the same drama: ‘Are the Eagles going to trade Donovan? Is this it?’ I believe in keeping everything to myself and staying focused on the goal at hand — to win a Super Bowl, no matter what team I’m with.”
Now he gets to try to do that with a team run by ’Lil Danny Snyder. Good luck with that.