Donovan McNabb took the stage in Washington as the new quarterback of the Redskins at a crowded news conference at Redskins Park.
"This is a different stage from the norm and what I'm used to," he said. "There are days in life you go through change, you find a light at the end of the tunnel here with a great organization that wants to win and wants to win now. I'm surrounded by a great group of players that are willing to put in the effort to win a Super Bowl ... For 11 years playing under a future Hall of Fame coach and now playing under another Hall of Fame coach and the things he has accomplished with great quarterbacks like John Elway .. I hope I can continue that."
McNabb expressed relief that a decision was made and his future was decided. "I'm so happy this is over."
"I’m just happy that it’s all over from where it all started at the end of the season to where we are now," he said. "There was never any burden on my shoulders [in Philadelphia]. I was part of a lot of different things in my 11 years to be surrounded by a lot of great athletes, but it’s over. I’m here and starting a new chapter in the book of Donovan. I look for great things to happen."
On facing the Eagles, he said, "I don't look at it like it will be any different than Dallas or the Giants ... Another opportunity to face a quality opponent and bring home a victory." He also said putting the Redskins jersey on for the first time will be no different.
A number of McNabb's new teammates attended the news conference. As for helping the Redskins improve, he said, "One person cannot achieve this. You achieve that by team ... I will promise to give [my teammates] all that I have. Everything I've been a part of we've won. We may not have won the Super Bowl, but we've won."
Asked why the Eagles traded him, he said, "You need to ask them that. I have no answer ...You have seen the offseason. They're rebuilding and they're going younger. I never knew 33 was old, but I guess I'm too old and they are going young."
He said he learned from the Brian Dawkins situation last year, calling him the "ultimate Eagle."
"I'm here in Washington and I'm excited to be here," McNabb said. "We knew the [Eagles] were listening to offers fom the beginning." He also then chided the media for its reporting and sources. "Good thing I have cable TV," he quipped.
As for the possibility of a contract extension, McNabb said, “That’s not my focus … I’ve landed here in Washington and I’m very excited about that. As far as anything else that might take care of itself or it might not.”
McNabb's agent, Fletcher Smith, said there have been no contact talks whatsoever between the sides but he expects both sides will want something to get done.
On making the adjustment between the Redskins’ offense and the Eagles’ offenses, “The offenses are somewhat similar but very different. In talking to coach Shanahan, he’s been through a lot of offenses. I have been in two. There will be a change. I'm looking forward to going in and studying to make sure it will be second nature to me and going out and make plays.”
“A lot of you in Philly probably don’t know much about the run game, but we will run the ball here.” He then talked about the Redskins’ three running backs, and the tight ends and receivers. He called himself “the guy that orchestrates everything, making sure they are confident and ready to go out and make plays for you.”
As to whether he was treated fairly in Philly, "I felt I was treated fairly,” he said. “Never had you heard me complain about the fans and media. That is not a concern of mine. I blocked that out.” He said there are too many distractions for players to worry about what is being said about them."
On the issue of excitement going to a new place, "It feels like being drafted again. It feels like I’m 22 again. The body might not respond that way again ... One thing we need to focus in on: We talk so much on me, me, me … It takes all of us to achieve that common goal. We shouldn’t focus so much on myself. We should focus on the team."
On finishing his career in Philly, "I'm a Redskin now ... I would have loved to, but it didn't happen."
Asked if he had a final message for the fans, McNabb said, "For 11 years, I want to thank him for giving me an opportunty to display my talent and be put in a position to get drafted when they were 3-13, going 5-11 and then averaging 9-10 wins a season … For 11 years, to make five NFC championships and a Super Bowl appearance. Yes, we didn’t win it, but it was a great ride. It was a ride in which every time we stepped out on the field, the fans were confident that we could win that game. I look to bring that here to Washington."
Here is a snippet from coach Mike Shanahan: "I didn’t think there was really going to be an opportunity to get Donovan. It all came fairly quickly. At the end of the day, I was a little bit surprised, and not shocked but very excited ... When I went to Denver, John Elway was entering his 13th year. When I was in San Francisco, Steve Young was in his 11th year. When you do have a quarterback that has won, a quarterback who knows how to lead, who can set the standard, it doesn't happen to have the opportunity to get players like that with the situation we are ... I feel very fortunate to have not only a quarterback but a person like Donovan."
Among the other attendees at the news conference was legendary Redskins linebacker Sam Huff, who also does radio commentary.
He wasted no time getting acclimated and was reportedly already in the weight room with his new teammates this morning before 9.
As we mentioned in our earlier post, Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford is also at Redskins Park on a visit scheduled long before the trade. The Redskins' needs have changed, obviously, but it is an odd coincidence.