Donovan McNabb sees "nothing wrong" with an inflammatory statement in which his agent attacked Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.
Yet McNabb also tried to distance himself from that statement yesterday in his weekly radio appearance on ESPN980. McNabb said he wasn't aware that his agent was planning to release the statement before it came out last week.
"He put his thoughts into the whole deal, not Donovan's thoughts," McNabb said.
McNabb was making his most extensive comments since his tit-for-tat with the Shanahans escalated when agent Fletcher Smith released the statement last Thursday. The quarterback who has repeatedly avoided answering questions over the last few days did little to clear the air, continuing in his attempt to play the good cop to Smith's bad cop.
"I support my agent," McNabb said, "and I support his thoughts . . . When I read the whole thing, I didn't see nothing wrong with it."
Smith's statement cited tension between McNabb and Kyle Shanahan, the head coach's son. It was released a week after Mike Shanahan announced he was benching McNabb in favor of Rex Grossman for the final three games of the season because the Redskins (6-9) had been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.
Mike Shanahan countered with a statement in response to Smith. Then Kyle Shanahan spoke the following day, disputing many of Smith's claims. Smith then released yet another statement standing by his original statement.
On his radio show, McNabb said he has met with Kyle Shanahan and that "we're both on the same page." McNabb then said several things to indicate perhaps he and the Shanahans aren't on the same page. He reiterated his concern over leaks that paint him as unable to grasp the offense.
"When you hear things like that, you begin to question where it's coming from," McNabb said.
McNabb labeled "false" an ESPN report he plans to ask for his release at the end of the season - although that doesn't rule out Smith asking for McNabb's release. McNabb also repeated his desire to play for the Redskins again next season, but with a caveat.
"Things would obviously have to change," McNabb said. "The relationship would have to be better. Conversations would have to be better."
* Denver safety Brian Dawkins says he believes NFL owners and players have a sense of urgency to avoid a lockout because they don't want to alienate fans.
"I would think common sense would say at the end of the day, after all the fighting and after all the words are said, we understand who butters our bread," said Dawkins, a longtime Eagles fan favorite. "That's where the urgency comes in at."
Dawkins and fellow NFL Players Association executive committee member Mike Vrabel alternated between optimism and expressing frustration with the league's proposals during a conference call about negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement.
The current deal expires March 4.
* The New York Giants returned to New Jersey at about 11 a.m. after being stranded in Wisconsin after Sunday's 45-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers.
* Pittsburgh probably won't know until Friday whether safety Troy Polamalu (Achilles') can play in Sunday's final regular-season game at Cleveland. He has been out 2 weeks and will not practice today or tomorrow.
* San Francisco team president Jed York interviewed Tony Softli as the first known candidate to fill the team's vacant general-manager position, a source told the Associated Press. Softli is a former personnel executive with Carolina and St. Louis.
* "Monday Night Football" is enjoying its best ratings year since coming to ESPN from broadcast network ABC for the 2006 season. ESPN says this week's season finale between New Orleans and Atlanta was the most-watched cable show of the year. The network said its 17 Monday telecasts in 2010 averaged a 10.5 rating, according to Nielsen. The Saints-Falcons game drew a 13.0, meaning nearly 13 million households viewed the game.