Tip-Off for 7/30/13 (featuring William C. Rhoden): Donovan McNabb retires as an Eagle among turkeys

(Sports Illustrated.com)

Donovan McNabb holds every significant Philadelphia Eagles passing record.

Donovan McNabb has officially retired. In eleven seasons, McNabb transformed the Philadelphia Eagles from division doormats into perennial Super Bowl contenders while enjoying the greatest career of any man to stand under center in Philadelphia.

McNabb remained classy from the day his name was called at the 1999 NFL Draft, until the day he was unceremoniously dumped into the lap of a division rival.

I always wondered what kept Donovan McNabb here. Anyone living outside of Philadelphia is quick to anoint its sports fans as knowledgeable.

They were instantly discredited when Paul Tagliabue called McNabb’s name second overall in the 1999 NFL Draft.

McNabb hasn’t done or said everything the way I would’ve liked. Sometimes as a player and other times as an African-American quarterback. There were times I wish he would’ve stood his ground and there are times he should’ve kept quiet. No matter what McNabb did in Philadelphia, it was never good enough. They’ll harp on showing too much teeth after throwing a pick or his air guitar routine before they mention leading the Eagles to five NFC Championships. McNabb was perceived by a good majority to be more of a clown than a Pro Bowl quarterback.

Sadly, many of those rants came from his own people. You know the terms, company man, sellout and worse. Was McNabb closer to the owner than most African-American quarterbacks past and present? Probably so. We constantly talk about being held back, but was being the man next to the man a bad thing?

In his retirement press conference, McNabb read from a prepared statement. I’m sure there were those who wondered why he didn’t “speak from the heart”. Had he spoken from the heart, I’m sure there would’ve been complaints about that as well. An already emotional McNabb could’ve become Niagara Falls had he shot from the hip. Prompting more ridicule.

Love for Donovan McNabb in Philadelphia goes down like a day old soft pretzel.

He’s been ridiculed for his playoff performances and in some cases it’s justifiable. In McNabb’s eleven seasons, he led the Eagles to the playoffs seven times. Seven times considering he only had a true No. 1 receiver when the team acquired Terrell Owens in 2004. McNabb played in spite of head coach Andy Reid — whose refusal to run the football became the downfall of this team. McNabb made chicken salad out of chicken you-know-what for most of his career in Philadelphia.

Even Ron Jaworski, the man who McNabb supplanted statistically in Philadelphia had a Hall of Fame caliber receiver in Harold Carmichael for most of his tenure in Philadelphia. Given Jaws’ performance against the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XV, he’s still embraced here. Raiders linebacker Rod Martin caught more passes from Jaworski than five Eagles receivers that day.

Whether you love him or hate him is your choice. Personally, the man should be championed as an African-American quarterback, who left the game under his own power, financially stable and free of any off the field issues (and I’m not referring to Michael Vick). We’ve bitched and moaned for decades about African-American quarterbacks getting their shot, but once we get one in the door, we pick him apart.

McNabb tried to warn Vince Young and Jason Campbell about the pitfalls of being a African-American quarterback in the NFL. Both chose to respectfully dismiss McNabb’s advice and move on. At last check, Young is hoping to get back into the league and Campbell is someone’s backup.

I’m not saying McNabb was perfect. Some of his recent statements and his desire not to speak up in the past have rubbed me the wrong way too. Looking at the bigger picture, it’s too late in the day for me not to pat him on the back for his accomplishments instead of putting a knife in it, which seems to be the norm for us today.


The Lineup:

Baseball prepared to do away with A-Rod (LA Times).

Olympics to host 4-ball amateur championship (San Francisco Chronicle).

Red Sox All-Star George Scott dies at 69 (ESPN).

Lakers may wait until 2015 to make waves (SB Nation).

NY Jets sign top pick Dee Milliner (Musket Fire).

Angels get hosed in signing Albert Pujols (NY Times).

Non profit pays drug addicts to get sterilized (Huff Post).

Woman charged with splashing green paint on the National Cathedral (Huff Post).

Knicks giving Carmelo Anthony the green light in 2015 (Dime Magazine).

Wizards pushing for the postseason (CSN Washington).


A must read by William C. Rhoden.

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