Donovan McNabb to Vikings: Eagles won’t have 5 to pick on anymore

McNabb on the sidelines during a Redskins loss to the Dallas Cowboys last year.

The long, sad tale of Donovan McNabb in the NFC East has come to an end.

The Washington Redskins have come to conditional terms to trade McNabb to the Minnesota Vikings for a pair of low-round draft picks, a stick and a ball of lint. True to the air of Shakespearean tragedy that’s accompanied McNabb’s career since 2004, the only thing holding up the trade is reportedly Donovan’s hubris; the QB is allegedly unhappy with the lack of a warm welcome from the Vikings camp.

We get it. McNabb was never treated fairly during his time in Philadelphia. He was the third- or fourth- best quarterback of his generation, and that wasn’t good enough. He wasn’t tough enough, even when he played through injuries. He didn’t put the team on his back or win big games or lead fourth-quarter comebacks, even when he did. He never ran enough, or he ran too much. He smiled too much on the sidelines.

And yet. Donovan never helped himself, either. How many times did he make a bad situation worse with a clueless, self-pitying or self-aggrandizing quote? Yes, other franchise quarterbacks like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady never had to deal with that kind of scrutiny, but Donovan was never Peyton Manning or Tom Brady.

When, in one final act of humiliation, McNabb’s declining skills got him shipped to a division rival, he still hung around as a comical, pathetic figure: Crowing about a victory over the Eagles he did little to earn, getting embarrassed in the rematch the day he signed an extension with the ‘Skins, and finally, the harshest cut of all, finding himself benched — for Rex Grossman! — in the season’s final days.

But now he’s finally gone, shipped off to the Midwest to mentor a kid from Florida State who was born a dozen years after him. The Vikings will not play the Eagles this season unless both teams make the playoffs, so there will be no more media circus. With three teams in three years, McNabb has officially entered the journeyman stage of his career. Here’s hoping he can do it with dignity.


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