Every professional athlete has to face the question, when to hang up the cleats for good? I have watch Donovan McNabb since his days at Syracuse. He seemed to be a magical quarterback even then. I saw when he brought the Orangemen back from the dead against Virginia Tech and steal a win. I watched him grow into one of the best dual threat quarterbacks as an Eagle. Then it happened, as if the Philly fans knew something, they ran him out of town when they saw the cracks in the foundation. That little something that shows he doesn’t have “it” anymore.
You could see the regression in Washington. Maybe it was that I was a fan and didn’t want to admit that one of the players I had admired over the course of his career was getting old and couldn’t come up with the magic he once seemed to generate at a moments notice. Sure there were still flashes, but they were few and far between. I think it was when Shanahan said that he would rather go with Rex Grossman over McNabb. I thought about that for a while. At first I thought Shanny was crazy, then I realized that he wasn’t, that he realized the magic was gone.
McNabb wasn’t ready to cruise off into the sunset quite yet, he wanted one more chance, one chance to prove that he still had that magic to drive a team to the playoffs. He signed with the Vikings, it seemed like a match made in heaven, AP in the backfield with Harvin to hit as a wide out, Shiancoe over the middle, how could it go wrong. It went wrong because McNabb can’t do the little things that made him so special in Philly anymore. Fans started calling for Joe Webb or Christian Ponder to start. You know it’s bad when fans actually want Joe Webb starting.
If McNabb gets replaced this early in the season, it really is over. There is not going to be another team that would want to touch him. He’ll hang up the jersey and pick up a microphone and become a commentator. He just needs to admit it to himself that his career is over. That really is the toughest thing.
As for his cards, the autographed cards are running about $20 – $30 in auctions. They have held up pretty well through these past few bad seasons. I do believe he is a Hall of Fame worthy quarterback and that his cards will rise with age. The only thing left now is for McNabb to quietly fade into the distance. His fans don’t want to see his career tarnished any more.