NBC Philadelphia / Washington Redskins
Will Donovan McNabb be a savior for the Redskins? Or will Philly fans just savor the moment they got rid of their longtime starting quarterback?
That is yet to be seen. But there is one thing that McNabb is certain about:
"I'm just happy that it's over," McNabb said Tuesday during his first press conference as a member of the Redskins. He was acquired Sunday for two draft picks.
McNabb characterized his breakup with the Eagles as one he didn't necessarily want, but one he understood had to happen. He said he was also treated fairly by the fans and media in Philadelphia during his 11 years there.
"I always believed in finishing where you started," McNabb said. "But sometimes change is better. Sometimes you're forced into change."
McNabb said the Eagles are rebuilding and getting younger.
"I never knew 33 years old was old, but I guess I'm too old," he said.
But both he and head coach Mike Shanahan pointed out how the new coach meshed well with veteran quarterbacks in the past and found success. Shanahan first worked with Steve Young in San Francisco and helped get an immense monkey off his back (the shadow of Joe Montana) by winning a Super Bowl. He then went on to Denver, where he teamed up with John Elway for two Super Bowl wins in the twilight of the Hall of Fame quarterback's career.
"I'll be 34, just like (Elway) was at the time," McNabb pointed out.
Shanahan and McNabb met for the first time Monday night after owner Dan Snyder flew him in from Arizona on his private plane and then chauffeured him to Lansdowne Resort.
"He paid for dinner. That was good," McNabb joked.
Shanahan then turned to Snyder and said, "Thank you, Dan."
The two discussed philosophies and goals. Shanahan said McNabb has the characteristics he looks for in a signal-caller.
"He's an excellent leader," he said. "He's everything you look for in a quarterback."
When trade was completed, McNabb said he looked back at runs of Elway and Jay Cutler in Denver to see what style he can look forward to.
"It starts with the run game," McNabb said. "A lot of you from Philly don't know much about the run game. But we will run the ball here."
McNabb also talked at the press conference about taking over the starting job from Jason Campbell, who, by the way, remains on the roster.
Yeah, that's a little awkward.
McNabb said he called Campbell "after the dust settled" to discuss what happened.
"This wasn't one of my plans to come in and take his spot," McNabb said. "Jason is a great guy and a hard worker and a friend who I've continued to talk to through the years. I've tried to be a mentor to him. I want to see nothing but success for him and an opportunity to revive his career. We just reflected on a couple moments in his career so far. I said 'The sky's the limit for you.' Continue to have your head high. Every now and then in life you go through adversity."
Don't expect Campbell to be at Redskins Park to greet McNabb. In fact, the Redskins may not see Campbell around the facilities much at all. The Washington Post reported that Campbell will not participate in the team's voluntary offseason workouts, and he won't give interviews until after his situation with the team is resolved.
What will it take? The best both sides could hope for is a trade out of town. Shanahan said the Skins have granted Campbell's agent permission to work out a trade with another team.
Shanahan said he met with Campbell over lunch on Monday.
"Jason was very candid. He asked me if I could allow him to look for a starting job in NFL," Shanahan said. "I told him we'd definitely give him the opportunity to look for something. "If it doesn't work out, he'll come back to us. We're going to give him every opportunity to seek what he's looking for."
The St. Louis Rams are the latest team in need of a QB after releasing former West Virginia University QB Marc Bulger. The Rams are contemplating taking Sam Bradford with the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming draft, but may need a short-term replacement for next season until Bradford gets up to speed.
Other teams that may be interested: Buffalo, Oakland, Jacksonville and Carolina.