Former Vikings quarterback Donovan McNabb is back trying to defend his honor, saying he takes the negativity aimed at him “personally, because I’m human.”
McNabb, who requested and received his release from the Vikings after 11 games in the 2011 season, was hoping to catch on with another team. But apparently, he didn’t receive any offers after a second straight season of being benched, first with the Washington Redskins in 2010 and then with the Minnesota Vikings in 2011.
After McNabb was released last year, an NFL Network report surfaced that called McNabb’s work ethic and preparation into question.
“There are always going to be haters out there,” McNabb said in regards to criticisms against him during his career.
But, specifically addressing that NFL Network report, McNabb expanded on his feelings.
>“I think one thing for me, especially being an analyst myself when it comes to being on TV, a lot of times you hear something from one person and you take it and run with it. They add that as their source,” McNabb told KILT in Houston, via Sports Radio Interviews, when asked about those allegations. “The situation in Washington didn’t work out as well and there were a lot of things involved in that. I looked forward to working with those guys for another year, but it didn’t happen and I had to move on, but all you had to do was ask the players.
“The players that I played with, players that I have been around and trained with, some of the coaches who were able to get to know me, not only as a player but as a person, and they could be able to tell you the facts about my work ethic, the way that I prepare. The way that I prepare myself as far as conditioning and things of that nature are concerned, it is unfortunate that as players you have to go through certain situations like this because you just don’t … if something doesn’t work out you don’t want to just say, ‘Hey it didn’t work out. We thought we seen something, but it didn’t happen.’ Then they want to nitpick and make themselves look better by digging into your work ethic and preparation and things of that nature where I think that is all just garbage.”
While Vikings coach Leslie Frazier defended McNabb’s work ethic, one player told Viking Update that the playbook actually expanded when rookie Christian Ponder moved into a starting role and replaced McNabb.
“Not to say anything on McNabb, but from when [Ponder took] over, the expansion our playbook that they were able to add just because of his knowledge and him being able to take so much in at once and being able to turn it onto the field – he’s one of the smartest guys,” the player said.
In six starts with the Vikings, McNabb completed 60.3 percent of his passes for 1,026 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions.
After failed stints with the Washington Redskins and Vikings that both ended before his contract was complete, McNabb is back to searching for an NFL team. Since he was released before his contract was up last year, he was free to sign to with any other team, just as he is now. Unrestricted free agents have to wait until March 13 to sign with another team, but McNabb apparently hasn’t received much interest yet.
“I think the most important thing for me is just to have an opportunity to come in and compete. Coming in as a starter? Yes, that is great. I have no problem with that, but in certain situations obviously being a 35-year old quarterback and people want to look into your past of the last two years they want to nitpick a couple of things,” McNabb said. “I just want an opportunity to compete, going to a team with a solid defense, a run game and some weapons on the outside. That’s something I am accustomed to being in obviously Philadelphia, and the two teams that I have been on there have been some ups and downs. But coming in, I just want an opportunity to compete, learn the offense and begin to build that bond with the guys in the locker room, so hopefully we can propel ourselves to get into the playoffs and possibly the Super Bowl.”
For now, McNabb is left to work on building a career in television while he waits to see if another NFL opportunity will arise. The best chance of that happening might have been last year when McNabb’s hometown Chicago Bears lost Jay Cutler and still were hoping to compete for the playoffs. Instead, the Bears turned to Caleb Hanie and Josh McCown and lost five of their last six games on their way to an 8-8 record.
“For me, when the Minnesota situation didn’t work out and the way things were going, I felt the best thing for me was to just step away for a minute. At times, you have to do that. I asked for my release,” McNabb said. “I asked Leslie (Frazier, Vikings coach). I talked to Leslie knowing how the situation was going and how things were moving. I asked to step away from the game. I think that was the most important thing for me because I had an opportunity to step back and realize the things that I have been through, the things that I wanted to accomplish, where I wanted to go. That made me stronger mentally, not only as a player, but as a human being.”
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.