Donovan McNabb made it clear Friday, in a session with Philadelphia-area reporters, that he does want to discuss his contract when he sits down with management in the offseason, and he suggested this would not be news to the team, contrary to recent statements by team president Joe Banner stating that the Eagles are unaware of any issues involving McNabb's contract.
But more important might be the fact that McNabb stated emphatically: "I want to retire as an Eagle." Asked about NFL Network commentator Deion Sanders, who keeps insisting that McNabb and his family want out of Philadelphia, McNabb said: "Deion's not speaking for me."
Asked about Banner's repeated assertions that the Eagles haven't heard anything about McNabb's contract from McNabb or his agent, Fletcher Smith, McNabb said the contract indeed will be discussed.
"Everybody knows that," McNabb said. "You guys know that, and you talk about it. We'll just leave it behind closed doors, communication will go well, we'll hopefully get things solved. We'll be (in the Super Bowl) hopefully next year, and I won't have to go through media row. I'll be sitting at the little tent with the chair (on an interview podium) talking about the game on Sunday."
His deal has two more years to run, but a new contract would lower his salary cap number - $9.2 million next season and presumably give him a signing bonus that would make it very hard under the salary cap for the team to part with him within the next few years.
McNabb suggested that he, Andy Reid and Banner were going swimming in Tampa today, with Reid "wearing a Speedo," Banner carrying "a little float" and team chairman Jeffrey Lurie barbecuing. This seemed perhaps to be a joke.
The Eagles have said that McNabb will remain their quarterback.
Earlier, in a tour of radio row at the Super Bowl media center in Tampa, McNabb said: "I have talked to the fans, especially early on in my career, about helping to bring a Super Bowl back to Philadelphia," he said. "We got so close and we got close this year. I want to bring that back to Philadelphia because they deserve it. The Phillies won it and that was a great thing. I've been there 10 years and we've been so close and I want to be able to have that parade down Broad Street. I want to tell the fans that, 'Hey, we've been working extremely hard to bring the Super Bowl back to Philadelphia and I want to do that for the fans.' "
As for where the Eagles stand and how he feels about the offseason, McNabb said: "I feel great. To finish the season out healthy, that is the most important thing. The way that we finished things out from no one really counting us in to the situation of the playoffs all the way to the NFC championship and that close to the Super Bowl. I'm very excited about what we can do next year. I'm very excited about the guys we have. I'm very excited about the draft picks and the free agents we can bring in to help out. We'll communicate about other things as well as things continue on. I'm anticipating this opportunity of hopefully being in Miami at the Super Bowl."