The old saying goes "Birds of a feather, stick together." They were definitely not talking about birds of the "Eagle" family, because the Philadelphia Eagles just released one of their own. A new feather of sorts, a new town, new coach, and a new team, Donovan McNabb learned his fate on Easter Sunday.
Donovan McNabb played for the Eagles eleven seasons. In the duration of his Philly tenure, McNabb led the Eagles to five NFC championship games and a Super Bowl. In addition, he was a six-time Pro Bowl quarterback. Last year was the first time in his eleven seasons that he didn't put up the absolutely stellar numbers seen and expected from the previous eleven years.
One season, that's all it takes. Eleven years of blood, sweat and tears falls pray to younger, shinier, and newer. A caveat for life, but still reeks unfairness. So quickly, a Pro-Bowl quarterback is expendable.
So what's an eagle to do when he loses his feather? Pick it up, and puts it right back on his helmet, that's what he does. Donovan McNabb will start next season as the first string quarterback for the Washington Redskins.
There's an interesting dynamic in the sports world. Athletes are assigned a "worth" from season to season. A teams general manager and their coaching staff will asses an athletes "worth" based on job performance and wither or not they're an equatable asset to the team and the franchise. We face something similar in the job force when earning raises and demotions, but athletes job performance has a very public price tag, and their services can be traded by money as well as future opportunities. Can you imagine your company trading you for the opportunity to choose someone finishing college a year from now? That's what athletes face constantly throughout their career. Curious to know McNabb's worth to the Redskins? Washington gave up their second-round pick in the 2010 draft, their 27th overall selection, and either their third or fourth round pick next year. To put it mildly, McNabb is worth a lot.
The Redskins, who've revamped their former team with a new head coach, former Denver Broncos Head Coach, Mike Shanahan and now a new hand throwing the ball, Donovan McNabb are poised to perform. So what does this mean for current quarterback Jason Campbell? All we can say is that he might be learning his worth soon enough, with a trade of his own.
In a press conference Tuesday morning, Donovan McNabb told reporters "It feels like being drafted again. You've been selected by a new team. You're going through all the emotions of learning new plays, being with the guys, working out. So it feels like I'm about 22 again."
New beginnings indeed. Donovan McNabb is the definition of a true athlete, a leader on and off the field, and a huge asset to any team. The Redskins are lucky to have him and the Eagles will experience deficit in his absence. Though wearing the same number five on his jersey, and playing the same position, we'll be watching a new McNabb.
Donovan Jamal McNabb #5, Washington Redskins
Birthdate: November 25, 1976
Home town: Chicago, Illinois
College: Syracuse University
NFL Draft: 1999, Round 1, Pick 2 - Philadelphia Eagles
NFL Goodies: 2004 Offensive Player of the Year, Six time Pro Bowl Selection, Eagles 75th Anniversary team, NFC Player of the Month, September 2005
What You Didn't Know: McNabb played on the Syracuse basketball team and played in the 1996 National Championship game vs. Kentucky. He graduated from Syracuse with a B.S. in Speech Communications, and planned to go into broadcasting if NFL didn't pan out. He now sits on the Board of Trustees at Syracuse University, and is still heavily involved with the University.