In March, Fletcher Smith, Donovan McNabb's agent, told the Chicago Tribune that he wasn't sure what the next move would be for his client. According to Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal, we now know what that will be -- the six-time Pro Bowler, selected in the first round of the 1999 NFL draft by the Philadelphia Eagles, is moving on to a career in broadcasting. Mullen reports that McNabb has signed with Maxx Sports and agent Mark Lepselter in preparation for work with one or more networks.
McNabb was benched by Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier after several rough outings early in 2011 and replaced by rookie Christian Ponder. The Vikings waived McNabb later that season, and though the Chicago Bears were criticized for not signing McNabb (or another veteran quarterback) after Jay Cutler was injured and out for the season, McNabb was unable to find another NFL team.
"We're just weighing our options right now," Smith told the Tribune back then. "No real set timetable to make a decision on what he is going to do this year. So he's in a holding pattern at this point."
It was telling that through the 2012 offseason, Peyton Manning was thought to be the best available free-agent quarterback following his release from the Indianapolis Colts. Former Green Bay Packers backup Matt Flynn was second in line based on two impressive career starts, and McNabb rated barely a mention from anyone. That was most likely his best chance for NFL survival, and eventual curtain call.
"Obviously, once his career is over, he has got a career in broadcasting. And that's an option as well," Smith said. "I think right now we haven't closed the door on anything. He's keeping his options open. When he is ready to make a decision, everyone will know."
Now we know, and this should be a successful move for McNabb. He's had his (sometimes unfair) detractors through an up-and-down NFL career, but he's smart, funny, and self-deprecating enough to avoid the "I coulda done that better" stuff we get from some ex-jocks once they hit the booth. Here's hoping that McNabb's next career move is a successful one.
If this is it for McNabb as a player, he goes out with some impressive career numbers -- 3,170 completions in 5,374 attempts for 37,276 yards, 234 touchdowns and 117 interceptions. He ranks in the top 25 in NFL history in attempts, completions, passing yards, passing touchdowns and passer rating. Most know him for an alleged "digestive episode" near the end of Super Bowl XXXIX in a close loss to the New England Patriots, and some confusion over just how overtime works in the NFL, but there are a lot of teams that would have given a lot if they could ensure such numbers from their quarterbacks.
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