Former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb had one season with the Washington Redskins, and it did not go well. McNabb, who made a Super Bowl, five NFC championship games, and six Pro Bowls with the Philadelphia Eagles in an 11-year span that ended in 2009, was traded to Washington in April 2010, and didn't do all that much for Washington that year -- he completed 275 passes in 472 attempts for 3,377 yards, 14 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He was traded to the Minnesota Vikings in July 2011, and he finished his career that season with just six games played that season.
That little disaster for the Redskins, which included the five-year, $78 million contract the Redskins gave McNabb in November 2010 and almost immediately regretted, put the franchise back on a quarterback search that effectively ended when three first-round picks were traded to the St. Louis Rams before the 2012 draft for the right to move up to the second overall pick and select Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III. There are injury concerns surrounding Griffin after his rookie campaign, but nobody would question what a healthy Griffin can do for the Redskins on the field.
McNabb, now retired, seems to be very concerned about what Griffin is doing off the field. In a recent interview with Mike Wise of the Washington Post, McNabb said that Griffin needs to slow his roll.
“It’s too much right now; it’s just too much," McNabb told Wise. "I get some of things he’s doing to draw attention to himself: the Adidas commercials, going out and enjoying the life of a young, famous NFL quarterback. I understand RG has a lot of stuff going on. But if you’re coming off ACL surgery, you don’t need to be having a press conference at OTAs. Every week? Really? It becomes a circus, a sideshow. It takes away from the focus of what those sessions are supposed to be about: the team.”
McNabb then went on to say that in Philadelphia under head coach Andy Reid, players recovering from injuries were never the focus. He had an issue with Griffin saying how well he's doing after offseason knee surgery, and criticized Griffin's father for a recent interview in which the elder Griffin said that he'd like to see his son pass the ball more and perhaps run the ball less.
“You can’t say what he said because it almost undermines his son, who has to answer all the questions about it later," McNabb said. "Now, we all know what he said was right. But that’s something you voice behind closed doors because otherwise it creates a wedge that didn’t have to be there. No team needs those kinds of things hovering over them.
“I would really like for me and my dad to sit down with he and his dad just to tell them what we went through and talk about our experiences.”
It should be pointed out that McNabb's advice is completely unsolicited -- he told Wise that he tried to reach out to Griffin last season, but the proposed hookup never happened. So, the ex-NFL star is apparently reduced to providing life advice to Griffin from his Arizona home. This advice included a rebuke to Griffin for accepting gifts fans recently bought for RG3 and his fiancee', Rebecca Liddicoat, on the couple's Bed, Bath & Beyond registry. Griffin and Liddicoat did not ask for the gifts from fans, and wrote thank-you notes later, but McNabb wasn't impressed.
“You don’t just send the gifts back, because that’s not right in its own way,” McNabb said. “But you also don’t take a picture with all the gifts people sent you from your wedding registry and then tweet it out. It’s almost like throwing it in the people’s face that bought you things. They see that photo and think, ‘What did I buy him something for? He didn’t need it with all these other people sending him things.’”
“When that happens, it just looks like rich people receiving things from the poor. I know his intention wasn’t that, but it’s the perception people take from it. It’s disrespectful. You just don’t do that.”
Ooooookay. It should be remembered that even before the Redskins drafted Griffin, McNabb came out and insisted that Mike Shanahan would not necessarily use Griffin the right way. One amazing season later, McNabb's March, 2012 statement seems pretty ridiculous.
"A lot of times ego gets too involved when it comes to being in Washington,” McNabb told ESPN punching clowns Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith on the network's "First Take" program in March of 2012. "Here's a guy coming out who's very talented, mobile, strong arm. We've already heard he's intelligent, [has a] football mind. Are you going to cater the offense around his talent, and what he's able to do, or are you going to bring the Houston offense with Matt Schaub over to him and kind of have him be embedded in that?
"If this doesn't work this year, if we don't see a splash like a Cam Newton splash, this could be it. How long does he have with RG3? The seat is hot right now.”
Well, Shanahan and his son Kyle, did just that -- they tailored their offense to Griffin's strengths, and the results were fairly impressive. And as far as Griffin's demeanor or media availability in OTAs, that's just the nature of the business these days. He's a high-profile player recovering from a serious injury, and teams make their injured players available to the media to try and control the message. One wonders if McNabb would be criticizing Griffin for not talking to the media if he chose to take that approach.
It's unclear what McNabb's motivation is here. He says all the right things about being a fan of Griffin's game, and that he holds no ill will over his time in Washington. Perhaps the current NFL Network analyst has decided that the Joe Namath approach is the way to go -- keep yourself in the media by taking random shots at current players.
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