The week of Donovan has finally arrived.
For more than a decade, Donovan McNabb was the quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles. He was the face of the franchise, the leader of the team and for 11 years, he lived through the highs and lows of this football-frenzied town. Now, this week, McNabb will add another chapter to the epic novel that was his career in Philadelphia.
Eagles fans have waited anxiously for this week since the schedule was released back in April. Over the course of 11 years, fans grew close to the quarterback of their team. And overwhelmingly, most are excited to welcome him home with cheers, until the game starts of course. But no one was closer to McNabb during his time in Philadelphia than head coach Andy Reid. After all, McNabb was Reid's first draft pick as head coach of the Eagles, and together, they changed the culture of this football team.
But Reid knows that this is not the time, nor the place, to be overcome with nostalgia. The Eagles have a job to do on Sunday, and he'll be darned to let an old friend get in the way.
"Well, listen, I think the world of Donovan," Reid said on Monday. "And the legacy that he left here will be just that, a legacy that lasts forever. He did phenomenal things for this organization, and that's not forgotten. But at the same time, he wants to beat the Eagles, and we want to beat the Redskins, so there's that side of it that you have to deal with."
Anytime you play a former teammate, it complicates the game plan. Playing against McNabb, who practically helped write the playbook, is a different situation all together. The Eagles will enter Sunday's game knowing that McNabb has done his best to teach the Eagles offense and defense to the Redskins coaching staff.
"Well, I'm sure he'll talk to his coaches about our defense," Reid said. "He knows all the guys, for the most part, with the exception of the rookies. So, I'm sure he'll help with that scouting report with the players, but their coaches will probably end up going back and kind of mixing what he tells them and with what they see on tape and come up with what they think is best against us."
While McNabb was Reid's hand-picked quarterback, he has also become one of the head coach's good friends. The two men spent a lot of time together over the course of 11 years, and trading McNabb was admittedly difficult for Reid to do. But when it comes time to play on Sunday, Reid said the emotion of the moment will be something he has to ignore.
"You know what, there's really no time, there's no time for that. I have a lot of other things I have to take care of and it won't be one of those types of things," Reid said.
For the normally unflappable Andy Reid, that will be easier said than done.
-- Posted by Josh Goldman, 6:10 p.m., September 27