Are you tired yet? I'm tired. Even without a medical degree, I'm pretty sure the fatigue is owed to going in circles for an extended period. It wears you out.

On Friday, just as the NFL free-agency period got under way, Fox29 ran a story claiming the Eagles' front office and head coach Andy Reid are divided on what to do with quarterback Donovan McNabb. Here are the germane passages from the station's story, which was posted on its Web site:

"Fox29 has learned that the Philadelphia Eagles are divided on a Donovan McNabb trade, with one very powerful Eagle blocking a potential deal. . . . [Sources told the station's sports department] that trading McNabb is not going to be easy because internally the Eagles' brass wants to move him but Andy Reid does not."

The Eagles weren't so thrilled by that report. In fact, the team responded with the adult version of the old "liar, liar, pants on fire" bit that has long been popular in schoolyard disputes.

"Someone made that up," an Eagles spokesman told me. "It's absolutely not true. We've been clear all along about whose decision that is."

Fox29 said it stands by its story.

Reid, speaking at the Maxwell Club banquet Friday night, told radio host Mike Missanelli: "I haven't changed my opinion, and I don't think they have, either. They've agreed, and mentioned kind of some of the same things I've said, that Donovan's our quarterback."

Remember the Little League game where you'd put your forehead on the butt of a baseball bat and spin around a bunch of times and then fall flat on your face? The Eagles' quarterback situation is a lot like that - only not as much fun. Plus, no one's mom brought orange slices for afterward.

Part of the problem here is that very few fans or reporters believe the Eagles are daft enough to bring back all three quarterbacks. The local and national speculation on that front - most of it centering on which teams might be good fits for McNabb or Michael Vick - began in earnest the moment the season ended. (ESPN's John Clayton, on the other hand, is part of the minority and said he's "90 percent sure" the trio will return.)

The longer McNabb, Vick and Kevin Kolb remain employed by the Birds, the longer the guesswork will continue about which signal-caller will ultimately (hopefully?) get shipped out of town.

The other part of the problem here is that we still don't know who at the NovaCare Complex will hand down the final judgment on the quarterbacks.

The Eagles won't like reading that. Per the statement given to me by the Birds, they believe they've been clear about who will make the decision on McNabb.

I guess they think they've been clear that Reid will make the call. I'm not sure - mainly because, well, they actually haven't been so clear. The Eagles won't like reading that, either.

Let's review why this is so confusing: After the season, Reid said McNabb would be the quarterback next season. He added that it's his call.

Days later, Joe Banner muddled the situation by saying the team had yet to hold the "meeting to start figuring this stuff out. Obviously, we have to do that. . . . Obviously, we have to make a decision on what we're going to do."

Making matters even more complicated, Banner then essentially reversed himself and said Reid was the "decision-maker" and said the coach's comments were "unambiguous."

Again, the Birds want us to believe this is all very clear. And maybe it is to them. But when Reid says one thing and Banner says two things that are at odds with each other, my head begins to hurt and I inevitably start popping Advil. Maybe they're just smarter than some of us, or perhaps they simply have a higher threshold for brain pain.

So here's an idea, one I offer directly and freely to the Eagles: Make a decision. If you're going to trade one of the quarterbacks or two of the quarterbacks, get to it. Sooner is better than later, at least from a PR perspective.

From a football standpoint, you might not want to hurry. That's understandable, because it would likely hurt the bargaining process. But if you're going to take this slowly and mull your options, then you have to accept that more reports like Fox29's will inevitably surface.

As long as all three quarterbacks remain in town, fans and the media will talk about the situation and wonder who exactly is in charge down there. You guys may not like it, but that's the way things are at the moment, and there's really nothing you can do about it until you pen the final chapter of a tale we've all grown tired of reading.

By the way: The plot was interesting for a while, but the dramatic arc flattened out toward the end. Could be why you're getting such bad reviews.

Contact columnist John Gonzalez at 215-854-2813 or
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