We interrupt coverage of the latest Eagles news from NovaCare withthe next step in the disintegration of Donovan McNabb's relationship with the Washington Redskins.
You know all the background and the continued back and forth. Honestly, there is not much more to say than let the following statement from McNabb's agent Fletcher Smith provide the latest salvo.
I think it is important to clarify some misinterpretations following Donovan comments made earlier this week on his radio show.
Donovan did say that "he didn't want to go anywhere" and that he "enjoyed himself" in the Washington DC area. He and his family truly enjoy living in the Washington, DC, area and are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support the fans have shown him this year. He stated that he wishes to stay in Washington because he came to complete a task - and that task has not yet been accomplished.
While Donovan's feelings about Washington remain the same, the Shanahans - both Mike and more specifically Kyle - have made this an extremely difficult relationship to maintain. Their comments have been beyond disrespectful and unprecedented for a six-time Pro Bowl quarterback such as Donovan.
There have been many reports leaked of Donovan not being in shape and not being able to grasp Kyle's offense. The fact is Donovan came into camp in the best shape of his career having dropped 10 pounds in the offseason. Donovan spent most of his offseason in Washington working out with the Redskins and never missed a practice. Unfortunately, it appears as though the Redskins coaching staff decided that their 12-year veteran quarterback, who flawlessly executed one of the NFL's most complex offensive systems (in Philadelphia), is unable to grasp Kyle's offense.
I believe there is tension between Donovan and Kyle that's rooted in the fact that Donovan has suggested modifications to Kyle's offense based on intricacies Donovan has learned in his NFL career. For example, Donovan has asked all year that the team run more screen passes to help manage the pass rush more effectively. Ironically, Kyle decided to employ Donovan's suggestions after he unceremoniously benched him on Sunday.
After Donovan quickly led the Redskins down the field and scored what appeared to be the game saving drive against Tampa Bay, Kyle was quoted as saying "He'll (McNabb) never take another snap for me again." Remember that statement came after Donovan led the Redskins on one of their best drives of the entire season.
Donovan is coming off a Pro Bowl season in 2009 where he threw for 3,500+ yards on 60% completions, with a TD:INT ratio of more than 2:1. He also led his team to the playoffs with an 11-5 record, and that's what he hoped to accomplish in Washington.
This year, Donovan was on pace to set the Redskins all-time passing yards mark before being benched.
Every week he went out there in solidarity with his teammates with one goal: to win as much as possible for the fans in this town who deserve a championship caliber team.
Make no mistake, this has been a difficult season for Donovan. Some may say that he has had a down year....that is true specifically because of the high standards that he has set as an elite NFL quarterback in his previous 11 seasons.
Donovan has maintained a high level of professionalism on and off the field. He is determined to continue his relentless commitment to win and looks forward to the opportunity wherever that may be!
Fletcher Smith III
Blueprint Sports Group
Later Friday, Mike Shanahan responded to Fletcher Smith's statement with the following press release of his own:
"As I stated earlier, when I traded for Donovan McNabb I had hoped that he would lead us to the playoffs. No one wanted him to be more successful than me. When the team was 5-8 and mathematically out of the playoffs, I made the decision to evaluate our other two quarterbacks. This was not personal, but strictly professional. The decision was made in the best interest of the Washington Redskins and I stand by my decision. I will attempt to talk to Fletcher Smith directly to clear up every one of his misconceptions."
To read our coverage today from Eagles practice, click here.