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No Longer An Eagle, McNabb Begins 'New Chapter' With Redskins


Donovan McNabb was not about to yield to emotion.

At least not yet.

In his introductory press conference on Tuesday at Redskins Park, McNabb would stay even-keeled, no matter how hard reporters pressed him.

Here was a prime opportunity for the 6-4, 230-pound quarterback to sound off on his 11 seasons in Philadelphia.

His tenure with the Eagles had plenty of highlights, including an appearance in Super Bowl XXXIX. He also endured a series of controversies, from booing by a segment of Eagles fans on draft day to the well-publicized spat with wide receiver Terrell Owens.

Some say McNabb was never fully embraced in the City of Brotherly Love.

The latest drama?

A trade.

At the age of 33, McNabb is now a Redskin.

Call it what McNabb calls it: a "new chapter in the book of Donovan."

"Obviously this is a different change from the norm of what I'm used to, but there are days in life where you go through change and find out sometimes there's positive light at the other side of the tunnel," McNabb said in a calm, steady voice.

"I'm here with a great organization that wants to win, and wants to win now. I'm surrounded by a great group of athletes and a great group of players who are willing to put in the time and effort in order to achieve that common goal, and that's to win the Super Bowl."

McNabb has thrown for 32,873 yards and 216 touchdowns, posted a career quarterback rating of 86.5 and earned six Pro Bowl nods. He guided the Eagles to the playoffs seven times and played in five NFC Championship games from 2000-09.

A Super Bowl title is the only thing that McNabb was unable to accomplish in Philadelphia.

The Eagles grew tired of waiting.

Now McNabb, who admitted he hoped to finish his career in Philadelphia, must try to accomplish that goal in Washington, in new surroundings, with a new team.

Same division, though.

Is he looking forward to playing the Eagles twice next season?

"I don't look at it any different than playing the [New York] Giants or Dallas," he said. "It's nothing that's going to make me run my head into a locker or start throwing stuff in my house. It's an opportunity to play against another team and an opportunity to hopefully try to bring a win home."


Playing Philadelphia is going to be just another game?


"Well, those who know me know I'm not a high and a low kind of a guy," McNabb replied. "I'm pretty much even-keeled and I have fun doing it. [Playing Philadelphia] is going to be an enjoyable week, but nothing that would be any different than playing against the Giants or Dallas.

"We have a tough schedule ahead of us, so I won't be picking two games out of the schedule that I look forward to playing. You have to be ready to play at all times in this league."

Will it feel any different putting on a Redskins uniform for the first time?

"I don't think it'll be different at all," he replied. "I think a lot of times people get caught up in the hoopla of a player going back to the place he started or the uniform he wears is different. For me, it's not any different. It'll be an exciting deal to put on the uniform, but we have time for that.

"Right now there's an opportunity for me to spend time with the guys here. That's something I cherish because I love the challenge of being able to present and display your talents to jell with the rest of the guys."

The only time he took a jab at Philadelphia was when he was asked about the Eagles' decision to part ways with him.

"They're rebuilding and they're going young," McNabb said. "I never knew 33 years was old, but I guess I'm too old."

On this day, McNabb was feeling much younger.

"[Coming to the Redskins] feels like being drafted again," he said. "It feels like I'm 22 again. The body might not respond that way, though."

He joins a Redskins offense that is installing Mike Shanahan's version of the West Coast system.

The Eagles also run a version of the West Coast system.

From what McNabb has seen of the Redskins' playbook, he thinks the two offenses have similarities but also some key differences.

"In talking with Coach Shanahan, he has been through a lot of offenses," McNabb said. "I have been in two. So there will be a change. I'm looking forward to going in and studying to make sure it will be second nature to me."

He viewed his role in Shanahan's offense as "the guy that orchestrates everything, making sure [players] are confident and ready to go out and make plays."

For now, McNabb's first priority is to bond with his teammates.

He already knows the names of his wide receivers--although at one point he referred to Chris Cooley as Kevin Cooley. McNabb quickly corrected himself, though.

McNabb spent Tuesday morning, hours before his press conference, taking part in the Redskins' off-season strength and conditioning program for the first time.

It's clear he takes his leadership role seriously.

"You have to understand that you have a job to do and there are 52 other guys in that locker room who are relying on you to be prepared at all times," McNabb said. "So that's why I spend time in the film room, that's why I spend time working out with the guys, and throwing out on the field.

"[In Philadelphia], I invited guys to work out in Arizona, to get away from the Philadelphia area. And I look to invite these guys here to Arizona to work out with me so we all go through that 115-degree heat and just be together. I think that's important."

And he believes it translates to wins on the football field.

The Redskins struggled in the win column last year, so McNabb's approach is sure to be welcome.

"We have a great group in here," McNabb said. "It's unfortunate they have not had success in previous years, but we look forward to bringing success here. A lot of guys who are coming from different teams and they were winning there. So they have the winning attitude, we just have to put it together."

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