PHILADELPHIA — The most difficult thing Donovan McNabb has had to do since picking up a football is to accept that it’s over.
This morning the quarterback who made the Eagles relevant again will sign a one-day contract, hang up his cleats as a member of the organization and be at peace with the decision.
“You know what? You just don’t ever see it happening,” the 36-year-old McNabb said Sunday after the Eagles practiced at Lincoln Financial Field. “As a kid you wish something like this would happen. But it’s coming true and I’m excited. I’m more excited for my kids. I can do it in front of my family. Probably my youngest won’t understand it but I can come back 10 or 15 years from now and they can take a look up and see their dad did something.”
Circle Sept. 19 on your calendars. That’s when Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs visit Lincoln Financial Field for what in all likelihood will be the special ceremony ultimately givingMcNabb, who wore No. 5, reason to look up.
McNabb doesn’t know where the time went. He quarterbacked teams to a 98-62-1 record in 13 years, including 92-49-1 in 11 seasons with the Eagles.
Despite the success, McNabb is remembered almost as much for becoming ill in Super Bowl XXXIX and getting booed in New York the day he was drafted.
McNabb threw for 37,276 yards, 234 touchdowns and just 117 interceptions, numbers worthy of the Hall of Fame.
McNabb also was sacked 410 times, hit at least double that and amazingly, is still able to walk and can enjoy work as an analyst for the NFL Network.
McNabb won all of those games despite injuries that would have retired lesser men. He still bleeds football, which is why it was so rough to say goodbye to his playing career.
“I think when you’ve played this game for so long, you’ve just got to know when to say when,” McNabb said. “You get to later in your career and you want to win a championship. You don’t want to go through a rebuilding phase. You don’t want to be kind of a stop-and-shop guy. You want to go somewhere where you can kind of get settled. And I just felt like my best move was to go on to my next phase.