Shutdown Corner - NFL

The ongoing controversy about Donovan McNabb's(notes) knowledge of the Washington Redskins offense and what led him to get pulled from the team's last game against the Detroit Lions has gone on for what's seemed like forever. The Redskins last played on Halloween and since then all the talk around the team has focused on whether Mike Shanahan and his hand-picked quarterback can coexist.

Shanahan, of course, pulled McNabb late in that game and then came up with varied excuses about why the decision was made. Since then it's been leaked that Shanahan has had to cut his playbook in half for McNabb to understand and that he and his son, offensive coordinator, Kyle, aren't happy with the quarterback.

McNabb has been as classy as can be throughout the episode, but has taken an odd, passive-aggressive approach in discussing it with the media. Namely, McNabb says he finds the controversy to be a source of laughter. 

To Shanahan's comments that he doesn't know the offense, McNabb said (via AP):

"That is hilarious to me. That is really funny to me. [...] For everyone who may not have heard any of this, it's probably a shock to them."

Later in the week, McNabb was asked again about the claims. From Redskins Insider (bold is mine):

Philadelphia media was at Redskins Park to attend McNabb's weekly media availability. One reporter noted that McNabb never faced questions in Philadelphia about his conditioning or his understanding of the playbook. McNabb chuckled.

"It's been quite entertaining, I should say," he said. "From the talks to the reactions and things of that nature, I've been getting some pretty good support from some of the ex-players and commentators. Thank them for that. For me, at this point, it's really just an opportunity to move on. We're playing against a tough team that's playing pretty well right now, coming off a great win. We've got to be able to match that intensity."

Really? I assume McNabb is feeling many things about what's been said about him this week, but entertainment isn't one of them. Still, his playful humor, however strained, has been effective in defusing the situation.

McNabb isn't the only one who finds speculation about his work ethic to be amusing. Philadelphia Eagles tight end Brent Celek(notes) said after his team's victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday that Dwight Freeney(notes) quit late in the game after being worn down for double- and triple-teams. When told about the comments, the Colts All-Pro responded (via the IndyStar.com):

"That was kind of funny. The guy doesn't block me one-on-one, he has two other guys helping him or another guy helping, and he's talking trash after the fact. I wish I had heard some of that during the game, but I didn't hear it. [...]

"It is what it is. Hats off to him and them. We'll probably see them again. Hopefully he blocks me one-on-one to see how it really feels. I don't think I quit, but it is what it is."

It must not take much to make McNabb or Freeney laugh. I bet they're Leno guys.

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