Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens each separately joined the Inquirer’s Live at Lunch on Instagram Live Monday and had noteworthy comments on the Eagles’ controversial draft selection of quarterback Jalen Hurts, as well as about their stormy relationship.
McNabb was in a similar position as current Eagles QB Carson Wentz when the Eagles drafted Kevin Kolb in the second round in 2007. McNabb was 30 at the time and still had a sixth Pro Bowl season to come (in 2009).
“Obviously you need some youth at the quarterback position," McNabb said. "Carson is only 27 years old, but there’s no need in having a backup that’s 40-plus [referring to Josh McCown, last year’s backup]. I might as well come out of retirement for that one.”
“If Carson goes down again, you have to be able to keep the ship going," McNabb added." You still have to be able to run your offense efficiently to put yourself in position to win games.”
Injuries limited McNabb to 19 games in the 2005 and ’06 seasons, before Kolb was drafted. He was eventually traded to the Redskins in 2010, and the Eagles gave Kolb the starting job.
“I’ve been there,” McNabb said. "Everyone tries to make it like I’m always coming down on Carson. I’m talking from experience. They drafted a quarterback that they say is an insurance policy, but if you continue to get hurt, [Hurts] will be the franchise quarterback.”
All indications so far have been that Wentz is fully in support of Hurts. Wentz tweeted Hurts shortly after the pick was made Friday to welcome him to Philadelphia.
The biggest difference in the two situations is that Wentz was notified beforehand that the team wanted to add Hurts. McNabb said he got no advance notice of the Kolb pick.
“I was like, that doesn’t bother me," McNabb said. “I’m still going to dominate the position, but you still wonder because we needed some spots to be filled. You just kind of wonder the direction of their thinking.”
Owens is a big fan of Hurts. His face lit up when discussing the former Alabama and Oklahoma quarterback. Hurts’ track record is one of the most impressive in college history. He won at two of the top programs in the country, and that’s what stood out to Owens.
“He’s played in a pro-style offense,” Owens said. “He will be able to adjust to whatever situation you put him in. Nothing seems to rattle this guy. [Hurts] is even-keel, no matter the situation.”
McNabb and Owens’ fractured relationship is well-documented. The Eagles acquired Owens from San Francisco in March 2004 and helped get them into the Super Bowl after three successive losses in NFC championship games. The trouble started the following summer when Owens held out for a new contract. The ensuing drama resulted in a 6-10 season and Owens ended up with the Dallas Cowboys in 2006. The issue resurfaced earlier this year when McNabb said Owens broke up the Eagles’ chances for another Super Bowl run.
Owens doesn’t agree with that, and says he felt that McNabb never embraced him.
“It’s hard for him to admit that I essentially made him a better quarterback,” Owens said. “Not saying that was my mindset when we played, because I don’t think like that. Look at the stats before and after I got there. That will tell you what you need to know.”
McNabb threw a career-high 31 touchdown passes in 2004, with Owens catching 14 of them.
Fans might want to see the two players repair their relationship, but that day likely will never come.
“Nah, I’m done, bro, I don’t get down like that,” Owens said. “When you deal with people like that, we call that two-faced. You’re one way in front of the camera, and you’re another way off the camera.”
McNabb’s response to fixing their relationship was simple: