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Donovan McNabb is no Victim in Washington

Donovan McNabb is seen as the victim once again in Washington“Classy, good teammate, scapegoat,” poor Donovan McNabb. The “great guy” is reportedly seeking a release from the Washington Redskins five weeks after signing a new deal. Can we please stop feeling sorry for the ultimate victim, Donovan McNabb?

I thought that the 10 plus years of Donovan McNabb the victim ended on Easter Sunday when he was traded to the Washington Redskins. I was almost sure it was over on October 3 when the humble player proclaimed that the Eagles “made a mistake” for trading him. It was just over a month later when Donovan Gate started with a benching in overtime and the great fans of Washington DC were introduced to a familiar friend of Philadelphia, Donovan McNabb victim.

Yes somehow Donovan McNabb is owed a starting job in the NFL. After the worst season of his career it is a head coach who won Super Bowls and the quarterback with 15 interceptions that is the villain. Surprisingly it isn’t the Redskins fan who is upset (as indicated by McNabb being booed at a Wizards game) nor his teammates who haven’t exactly gone out of their way to support their fallen hero other than to say they were surprised, but it is the media who continue to play this game of Donovan McNabb victim. Believe me, Donovan McNabb is no victim here.

ESPN is reporting that Donovan McNabb is in the midst of seeking a release from the Washington Redskins. Wait a minute you say. Didn’t he just sign a $78 million contract back in November? Well as a matter of a fact yes he did. He even took him a cool $3.5 million bonus. Now this magnanimous great man has changed his mind and believe it or not…he is the victim here! Am I missing something here?

It is one thing to criticize the New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts, or New Orleans Saints for sitting their quarterback and starting a journeyman to “see what they have.” But what in the world do the Washington Redskins and Mike Shanahan owe Donovan McNabb? Correct me if I am wrong but Donovan McNabb has never won a Super Bowl. He went to numerous NFC title games but only won one in 10 years and this was for a different team. I am no fan of Mike Shanahan but the man has won multiple Super Bowl championships and yet he is supposed to owe Donovan McNabb anything?

As a Philadelphia Eagles fan I am enjoying this story. There has been a buzz for years that the Eagles built this wall around Donovan and babied him, shielding him from any public backlash. But this continued description as Donovan McNabb as a “great teammate” by the media is laughable to an Eagles fan. Two years ago McNabb blamed the defense for giving up the lead in Arizona. Last year he blamed “the youth” of the team for the inept offense in the Week 17 debacle in Dallas. Read the quotes in the offseason from Philadelphia Eagles players. With the exception of Leonard Weaver who spent one season in Philadelphia, the rest of the team couldn’t be happier with a new quarterback. What does that tell you about Donovan McNabb great teammate?

On top of that look no further than Week 14 on NBC Sunday Night Football. Lost in the midst of exciting show that DeSean Jackson put on for the national audience were his comments in the post game. When asked about why he enjoys playing with Michael Vick Jackson said, “He is a quarterback that takes blame.” That was a not so subtle shot at his former quarterback. DeSean went into greater detail immediately after the trade by calling the trade of McNabb a “relief”. This idea about Donovan McNabb being a great teammate is nothing I have heard in recent years from the guys that can actually vouch for this…his teammates.

Then you have the constant baggage that comes along with Donovan McNabb. Between McNabb’s mother and his agent, you are bound to get at least one disruptive quote per season. McNabb’s agent Fletcher Smith has gone on the attack in the media against Mike and Kyle Shanahan accusing them of many things including installing a different offense for Rex Grossman. Now unless Fletcher Smith is a Washington Redskins quarterback in practice, in meetings, with a playbook, where do you think he got this idea? It is nice to see Donovan supporting the team and his teammates.

It is funny because as exciting as Philadelphia Eagles fans are about winning the division, they still are surprised at the performance of Michael Vick. I look deeper than the performance of Michael Vick as a cause for the surprise season. I think the surprise here is that none of us realized how detrimental Donovan McNabb has been the last few years to the success of the team. I know he took them deep in the playoffs two years ago but the facts are the facts. McNabb has not won many close games for the Eagles over the last few years. I take a look at the Eagles wins by 6 points or less and just assume they would have been losses if it were Donovan McNabb at quarterback.

Oh and finally before we break out the rally towels for Donovan McNabb let’s take a look at the season. McNabb has been awful this season. He has thrown 15 interceptions, some at the most inopportune times. He has a completion percentage of 58.3 %. To put this into perspective, Jake Delhomme has a better completion percentage at 62.4 and McNabb’s is only slightly better than Jimmy Clausen. Why would any team out of the playoff hunt at the end of the season not sit a quarterback with those stats to see what they have for next season or gulp…tank it for a better draft pick?

I am sorry but the Washington Redskins have every right to hold on to Donovan McNabb for as long as they want. Newsflash, McNabb was out of there at the end of the season until he signed a new deal. He signed the deal and took the cash. Why is it any different for McNabb while Albert Haynesworth is a “bad teammate?” Both players signed the deals and cashed the checks, yet McNabb is a victim. The Redskins invested two draft picks in McNabb. Why would they allow him to walk? Now all of the sudden McNabb is held hostage. Even if the Redskins can get a fifth round pick for McNabb it is better than nothing. The problem is that with such a ridiculous contract there probably won’t be any takers. Remember, the Redskins were reportedly the only taker for McNabb last season. Has his value gone up?

The 2011 NFL season is going to be a rude awakening for Donovan McNabb. How many teams are really going to be in the market for a 34 year old quarterback coming off a season of turmoil, coming off the worst season of his career with a $70 plus million contract? If the 2010 NFL season has shown us anything, it is that the best chance a team has at turning their fortunes around at quarterback is through the NFL draft. The Kansas City Chiefs got lucky, but Cassel is also a lot younger than most people think. Drew Brees is a case for a veteran but Brees was in his late 20s also when he signed with the Saints. With an expected rookie wage cap on the horizon, I can’t imagine many teams hoping to build their franchise on Donovan McNabb over someone like Andrew Luck.

So who would be in the Donovan McNabb market? Is McNabb that much of an upgrade over Jason Campbell for the Oakland Raiders? The Arizona Cardinals are the obvious choice but they had their shot at McNabb last year and reportedly weren’t interested. The Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, and San Francisco 49ers are all possibilities. The Broncos and 49ers will have new head coaches, and chances are the Panthers and Dolphins will as well. After seeing the trouble that McNabb and Fletcher Smith have caused in Washington this season, what new coach is going to risk his future on 5?

Now I am not saying that Donovan McNabb won’t get a job in the NFL. Heck, he has one with the Washington Redskins. I am saying that Donovan McNabb is going to have to do a lot of soul searching and for once in his career take some responsibility. It is also time for the McNabb fan club in the NFL media to stop portraying this guy as a victim. Read a local Washington newspaper or old Philly paper and you will be surprised at how different the perception of McNabb is by the media that cover him every day as opposed to his buddies who come to his golf tournaments.

No matter where Donovan McNabb plays next season, there is going to be a young quarterback backing him up with hopes of taking his job. Donovan McNabb is going to have to be more of a teammate than he has ever been if he plans on playing football in the NFL in 2011. If Donovan McNabb is not comfortable with that, he is better off announcing his retirement, returning his $3.5 million, and going into broadcasting…or staying with the Redskins as a backup.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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