OK, now in this morning's Inquirer we have another version of last week's Donovan McNabb meeting with the Eagles. In this scenario - provided by a "league source" who probably wasn't McNabb, given the tenor of the piece -- McNabb met one-on-one with Eagles president Joe Banner. This is a convenient version in one respect -- it gives Eagles coach Andy Reid and McNabb's agent Fletcher Smith, at least a fig leaf's worth of cover for their statements last week denying that a big McNabb powwow had taken place.
Of course, to accept this revised edition of what was originally reported by ESPN.com's Michael Smith (a meeting with McNabb, Fletcher Smith, Reid and Banner), you have to get past the notion that McNabb for some reason conducted a meeting in which his contract was discussed without his agent being present. The point of that would have been ... ? And why on earth would Reid not have been part of this?
The part of the revised version that rings true is that the Eagles were surprised by the Michael Smith report, that they hadn't perceived McNabb's stance as being as confrontational as ESPN.com depicted it. All the other tea leaves available to be read suggest this, as well. If management came away from a meeting with McNabb in which it had been lectured to about the need to improve the team in specific ways so that McNabb would not ask to be traded, and so that he would deign to entertain offers of a contract extension, we would have known about that right away. There would have been spin, through friendly media outlets -- "You know, Donovan didn't really play as well as some stats suggest last season, the team is still evaluating whether it's time to turn the page."
We've heard nothing like that so far. Amid the initial outburst of shock and concern, philadelphiaeagles.com czar Dave Spadaro responded to a fan's angst by writing: "I don't necessarily believe that that is how the meeting went down. So, I'm going to say everything will be fine."