As if being benched on two quarterback-needy teams wasn't enough, Donovan McNabb's playing prospects took another big hit yesterday when it was reported that the Houston Texans were on the verge of signing veteran quarterback Jeff Garcia to backup current rookie starter T.J. Yates.
Is this rock bottom for McNabb?
It's been a long road to get to this point. The downward spiral began when he was traded within the division from the Philadelphia Eagles—a team he quarterbacked for 10 seasons—to the rival Washington Redskins.
McNabb suffered through his worst season to date with Washington, and Redskins coach Mike Shanahan demoted McNabb to third string by Week 14. Rex Grossman started the rest of the season with McNabb on the bench.
McNabb got another chance to get his career back on track when the Minnesota Vikings swung a trade for the veteran quarterback after the lockout was resolved. McNabb lasted just six games—going 1-5 in those starts—before the Vikings sat McNabb for rookie Christian Ponder. Minnesota then cut McNabb on Dec. 1.
It was figured that McNabb would latch on with another team, especially considering how many playoff-contending teams needed a veteran quarterback in some capacity.
Naturally, McNabb's hometown Bears were the first team he was linked to. Chicago had just lost Jay Cutler for the rest of the regular season and then witnessed backup Caleb Hanie throw three interceptions in the Bears' first game post-Cutler. The Bears dismissed the move and didn't put in a claim for McNabb.
The Cowboys were also discussed, as backup Jon Kitna continues to deal with a back issue. Dallas followed in the footsteps of Chicago.
But then there was always the Texans, a team that had lost both Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart for the season to injuries. Fifth-round rookie T.J. Yates was on the roster, and the Texans had recently signed Jake Delhomme before McNabb was cut. A team leading its division and in a prime playoff spot wouldn't really lean on a rookie and a guy that hasn't played football in a year, would they?
The waiver period on McNabb came and went. No claims. Now a free agent, McNabb was free to sign with any team and at any price.
Still, the Texans avoided McNabb. Instead of bringing in McNabb, the Texans went another route—to a 41-year-old Jeff Garcia who hasn't played in the NFL since 2009. Yes, the Texans decided that a guy who hasn't practiced or played a down in the league in two years was a better fit than a starting quarterback for an NFL team to start the 2011 season.
That tells you a lot more about Donovan McNabb than it does about Garcia or the Texans.
The NFL has all but retired McNabb. When you have a whirlwind 20 months with three different NFL franchises, that happens. But I don't think anybody expected it to happen as fast or as violently as it has for McNabb.
The Texans decision to get Garcia over McNabb might have been the last nail in the coffin.
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