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Donovan, the Motivational Tool

The Eagles' quarterback said he would just as soon not have become the catalyst for the team's recent turnaround, after being benched.

Donovan McNabb seemed to be feeling a lot like another guy from Illinois Wednesday, a guy who once was asked how he liked being President. No, not the fellow that McNabb registered to vote so he could cast a ballot for last month --  the other guy from Illinois. Older guy. Jamie Moyer probably voted for him.

"I feel like the man who was tarred and feathered and ridden out of town on a rail," Abraham Lincoln once said. "To the man who asked him how he liked it, he said: 'If it wasn't for the honor of the thing, I'd rather walk.' "

So it was Wednesday when the Eagles' quarterback was asked about the fact that other players have said his benching galvanized the team, taught them that no one was untouchable, and played a role in the Birds' subsequent three-game winning streak.

"I think the team is playing well. I think we're all playing well, together. For me to be used as the guy to motivate other guys, I really don't think that is needed," McNabb said. "But I guess we've all kind of seen what happened and learned from it and moved on."

Then, McNabb seemed to be saying that it's all well and good for guys to say they took motivation from his benching, since they weren't the ones being publicly humiliated.

" It's a different situation when it's really not you that's being the guy to motivate everyone else," he said. "In light of it, I guess we're all playing well together."

McNabb was asked about his relationship with the man who benched him at halftime of that Baltimore game Nov. 23, Andy Reid. There were several references on the Monday Night Football broadcast to a changed McNabb-Reid dynamic:

"My relationship hasn't changed with Andy. I guess that would be an assumption people would make because of the situation and the coverage it has received. I guess maybe they took it from (McNabb saying) we'll have to talk after (the season ). In this situation, we're professionals. We know what our job entitles us to do, and for me that's to lead the team to success and wins and try to get us in a position to make the playoffs. Anything else after that, that's (for) after we're done. As far as right now, we're focusing on what we have to do to beat Washington."

Meanwhile, Brian Westbrook was a full practice participant, which probably bodes well for this weekend. Hank Baskett (knee), Kevin Curtis (calf), Brian Dawkins (back), Todd Herremans (shoulder) and Jon Runyan (knee) sat out practice, which was significantly shorter than usual, because of the abbreviated week.

BTW, there's an outside chance the Birds could end up with more than Dawkins and Asante Samuel representing them at the Pro Bowl. Trent Cole and Brian Westbrook are second alternates, a source close to the situation said.