Solomon Jones: A refresher on what McNabb has done for the Eagles

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Andy Reid announced that he is listening to offers from other teams for his QBs, including Donovan McNabb. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)

WITH ALL the hubbub about the possible trade of Donovan McNabb, I thought it was time for a true Eagles fan to pipe up.

Granted, my expertise is limited to drawing up plays with a stick and dropping lots of passes when I was 12. But, like all the other slobs sitting on couches and pontificating about the Eagles, I am a rabid fan, and I have the scars to prove it.

I was watching in 1981, when the Eagles went to Super Bowl XV to face the Oakland Raiders. I bet a whole dollar on the home team. I lost my dollar that day, and although that lesson helped me to avoid the evils of gambling, the Eagles have been hurting me ever since.

They hurt me when they had Reggie White, one of the best defensive players in the history of the game, and allowed him to walk away. They hurt me when they had the ultimate weapon, Randall Cunningham, and could never win a championship. They hurt me when they went to five NFC Championship Games and lost all but one. But they've never hurt me more than they have with their apparent willingness to trade the best quarterback in team history.

I'm not here to say whether they're right or wrong. There are better football minds to debate the pros and cons. I'd rather take this opportunity to look back on the good times in Donovan's career and, trust me, there were many.

Do you remember when that sports-radio guy sent those idiots to New York to boo Donovan when he was the No. 2 pick in the draft? Young Donovan smiled through the boos, displaying for the world the thick skin that various commentators still swear he lacks.

Do you remember what happened to the other quarterbacks selected in the first round of the 1999 draft? No. 1 pick Tim Couch was a bust. So were Akili Smith and Cade McNown. Daunte Culpepper had a good run with the Vikings, but he never achieved McNabb's level of success. Boy, Donovan looks pretty good when you compare him to those guys, doesn't he?

He looks even better when you consider the truly offensive (and I mean that in the worst way) lines he played behind early in his career. Somehow, he managed to make those guys look competent by breaking off 50- yard runs on a regular basis. McNabb also made slow-footed receivers like Charles Johnson and Torrance Small look good - so good that McNabb made the Pro Bowl in just his second year.

Of course, there were those who said McNabb had talent and no heart, which always puzzled me, especially after I watched him gut it out to throw four touchdowns against the Cardinals on a broken ankle.

There were those who said he couldn't make clutch plays, which confused me, because I saw him complete a pass to Freddie Mitchell on fourth-and-26 in a playoff win against Green Bay.

Remember when they brought in the ancient Antonio Freeman and McNabb made him look young again? Remember how slow Chad Lewis was, but somehow McNabb hit him with enough passes to get him into the Pro Bowl? Remember when McNabb put Hank Baskett on the map for something other than being married to Kendra?

I remember the games we won when we had McNabb and little else. I remember the way he performed while facing years of abuse, not only from opposing teams, but from fans and media, too.

And still, our overrated, no-heart, thin-skinned quarterback managed to throw for more yards than anyone in team history, compile the lowest interception percentage in league history, lead a team with an inconsistent running game to the Super Bowl and make six Pro Bowls along the way.

Wait, why are we talking about trading him again?

Solomon Jones' column appears every Saturday. He can be reached at

sj@solomonjones.com