MAC

Let’s just get this over with— McNabb retires as an Eagle…

Slow news day when you are left to finally contemplate Donovan McNabb's retirement… I guess I'm "tardy" in this category because I really thought McNabb had a few more campaigns in him…

But Donny is hanging them up…

He took us close to the pinnacle. I appreciated very much as a fan being so close. Thank you, Don, for getting us so close.

So sorry his final years in the NFL were so pitiful….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Donovan McNabb plans to officially retire as an Eagle this season.

McNabb, who led the team to five NFC championship games during his 11-year tenure in Philadelphia, and to the Super Bowl in 2004-05, announced his plan on ESPN Radio 97.7 FM in Syracuse, N.Y. on Monday night, and repeated it on his national show on NBC Sports Radio.

"I will retire as an Eagle and I look forward to that opportunity and that day," McNabb said on his show.

McNabb said that the team is making tentative plans for him to be honored on Sept. 19 in Philadelphia, when the Eagles host former coach Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs on NFL Network's "Thursday Night Football" at Lincoln Financial Field.

An Eagles spokesperson would not confirm or deny the plans Tuesday. There is also a possibility that McNabb's No. 5 jersey will be retired.

McNabb would be the latest former Eagle to be honored by the team in recent years, following safety Brian Dawkins, tackle Tra Thomas, linebacker Jeremiah Trotter and running back Brian Westbrook, among others. Dawkins also had his No. 20 jersey retired and was inducted into the Eagles' Hall of Fame.

McNabb joined the Eagles in 1999 as Reid's first-ever draft pick (No. 2 overall— out of Syracuse) and left when he was traded to Washington on Easter Sunday in 2010. During his Eagles' tenure, he became the franchise's career leader in pass attempts (4,746), completions (2,801), passing yards (32,873), and touchdown passes (216).

But he also had his share of detractors among the fan base, mainly due to his inability to lead the team to a Super Bowl victory. The closest he came was in the 2004/05 season, when the Eagles suffered a 24-21 loss to New England in Super Bowl XXXIX in Jacksonville, FL.

My own feelings about McNabb?

I say he's borderline Hall of Fame just based on his longevity plus the lowest INT percentage among  his peers who have thrown over 200 TD passes.

Donny was money when he was "on"…

Truth be told, he was never given a complete set of top-flight receivers in Philly. He had T.O. in 2004, and you saw what that brief partnership did for his overall numbers. But after Owens departed, there was never again a classic "go-to guy" in the receiving corps for McNabb. He consistently made the best of what he was given to work with at both wide receiver and tight end, not to mention Westbrook out of the backfield.

McNabb had mobility, too, at least until a couple of rib-fractures convinced him it might be best for the team to throw it away or at least take a slide. From a football standpoint, McNabb is just done. His mobility is not what it was, which is what made him such a good player to begin with. His footwork was always questionable, and his accuracy was suspect. Hey, it's just his time to call it quits.

What does he leave us? Every quarterback who starts for a decade and measures a good level of success leaves a legacy to the NFL.

Donovan McNabb was booed by Eagles fans at the 1999 Draft event in NYC  who wanted Ricky Williams. Suddenly, he was a story before he threw a pass in the NFL.

McNabb played on broken ankles and got to Pro Bowls and yet in his first five years, what was the biggest story? The Rush Limbaugh controversy in which the then-ESPN analyst called McNabb "overrated" and said he got great treatment from the media because they were "desirous of a black quarterback to do well" …?

The Limbaugh thing was a watershed moment in the sports industry, because of how long that topic stayed front and center. You could almost hear every sports producer, editor and program director saying "Wow, let's keep talking about this. Everyone's fired up about it." Which is true, because it's much easier for fans to latch onto emotional human stories that they can understand rather than how McNabb was able to beat the Cover 2 on a game-winning drive. Suddenly it wasn't limited to McNabb. Off-the-field became the new on-the-field. The Baylor basketball/Dave Bliss coverage stretched over two months… Mike Price and the strip club…. Larry Eustachy and the college co-ed party…. Kobe Bryant and Eagle, Colorado…. Stories like these became the life-blood of sports coverage. But it was McNabb's situation that gave birth to this phenomenon.

And so it goes.

He got to NFC Championship games and the Super Bowl, and still, the story that went just about the entire offseason following the 2004 season? How McNabb and Terrell Owens didn't get along despite their success together… that McNabb got sick during the loss to the Patriots in XXXIX and was called out by T.O. afterwards… Freddie Mitchell (FredEx!) said he had to call a few plays in the huddle because McNabb was too ill… The Eagles denied it, but admitted McNabb was tired. How tired? How sick? We didn't know. But we talked and blogged about it from February until April. By this time, McNabb was the shining star of personal critique. Yes, other people were getting their turns in the spotlight, but McNabb was a guy you could count on every few months for one of these stories that didn't revolve around wins and losses. The Godfather of modern-day sports fodder…

He came back months ahead of time from a torn ACL in 2007 to play lights out. But that didn't matter. You know the story now. He said he didn't think he'd be back in Philadelphia after the drafting of Kevin Kolb. He asked for the Eagles to bring in more 'playmakers' on his blog, and called out his team for underperforming and of course, he didn't know the NFL rules for overtime following a tie with the Bengals. He got to the NFC title game again in the 2008 campaign but his benching earlier in the season was a bigger story. He played well in 2009 and was told he'd be the Eagles' QB for 2010. Three days after Andy Reid gave him that vote of confidence he was traded to the Redskins. It was supposed to be a fresh start. Why would Philadelphia do this? Hey, we're going to pay attention to McNabb on the field again! That is until he was benched for not having the stamina to lead a two-minute drive, and Rex Grossman was the answer. Grossman wasn't even the answer when the Bears went to the Super Bowl in 2006. Seriously? Stamina? Hey, media firestorm? After this, McNabb was an ex-Redskin. And now, he's the ex-starter for Minnesota…

For me, the bottom line on McNabb—getting to five conference championship games for the Eagles when you're the only offensive constant from all those teams is incredibly impressive.

 

Thomas Jackson

About Thomas Jackson

Jax Sports Media has been reporting on NFL teams in the mid-Atlantic region since 2006. Thomas Jackson is its senior writer. Tom started covering the Philadelphia Eagles for the MVN Network in 2007. In 2009 he joined the Bloguin Network. He now also covers the Baltimore Ravens.

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