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Speculation fueled by McNabb's silence

Donovan McNabb's agent won't say it was much ado about nothing. On the other hand, Fletcher Smith did say it isn't as big a deal as it seems to have become in the local media.

Donovan McNabb's agent won't say it was much ado about nothing. On the other hand, Fletcher Smith did say it isn't as big a deal as it seems to have become in the local media.

"I think if it were truly a big deal, you'd probably have heard from [McNabb] by now," Smith said yesterday by telephone.

It, of course is, the Eagles' selection of University of Houston quarterback Kevin Kolb with their first draft pick Saturday.

McNabb obviously has the power to end any and all speculation about his feelings over that move simply by making a statement. He wouldn't do that after his face-to-face meeting with coach Andy Reid Tuesday, so the speculation about his reaction to the Eagles' selection of Kolb continues.

Smith said he knows how McNabb feels, but he's not comfortable speaking for his client.

"I think Donovan is going to have to answer that question," the agent said. "He can handle those questions that deal with his personal feelings. He certainly has in the past and he handled them to perfection, I think. If any one answers how he feels, it's him."

Reid said he told McNabb in a telephone message Saturday that the starting quarterback shouldn't worry about the selection of Kolb. It's safe to assume that Reid reiterated that message Tuesday at the NovaCare Complex. The meeting went well, according to sources close to the situation.

A lot of people have compared the Eagles' decision to draft Kolb to Denver's decision to select Tommy Maddox 25th overall in the 1992 draft when they still had 31-year-old John Elway, who was recovering from major shoulder surgery.

Maddox, of course, never became the regular starter for the Broncos and was traded after just two seasons in Denver, while Elway went on to play seven more years and win two Super Bowls.

What was Elway saying after the Broncos selected his potential future replacement?

"I didn't think 31 was old, but now I'm starting to feel old when they start talking about passing the torch," he told the Denver Post back then. "Before, I just saw a twinkle at the end of the tunnel. But now, that thing's opened up.

"I'm not sure what kind of guy Tommy is, but he seems like an awfully nice guy. So I don't think there'll be too much controversy. But I'm sure he'll get anxious and want to play. Hopefully, I'll be playing well enough to keep him there [on the bench]."

Maddox, who left UCLA after his redshirt sophomore season, was considered a risk, and he obviously never had an impact in Denver, although he did get considerable playing time as a rookie after Elway reinjured his shoulder 10 games into the season.

How will the McNabb-Kolb situation unfold? How does McNabb feel about his potential future replacement?

We'll have to wait and see and wait to hear.

McNabb, of course, is not the first Eagles player to learn that somebody who plays his position was drafted as a potential replacement. That's why the Eagles took offensive tackle Winston Justice last year, and it's entirely possible that Penn State running back Tony Hunt, a third-round pick by the Eagles, could replace Correll Buckhalter as soon as this season. Buckhalter is also a Smith client, but the agent said nobody had asked him about how the running back felt after the Eagles drafted Hunt.

"No, I have not gotten that question yet," Smith said.