When you read Jason Avant's words regarding the trade involving Donovan McNabb, you can tell that the comments were genuine and straight from the heart.
Avant is sad to see an outstanding era of the Philadelphia Eagles end, but he knows at the same time that good things are on the horizon.
"It's a sad day for the Philadelphia Eagles, but it's an exciting day," Avant said. "It's an exciting day for McNabb that his future goes on. It's exciting that the younger guys get a chance, but it's sad day because one of the greatest Eagles ever has left the Eagles.
"It's kind of disheartening. I love the guy. I wish he was here, but God has a plan for him. I'm glad he's going to be on a winning team, but it's kind of hard for us. We're excited about our future, but let Donovan know from this interview that I loved playing with him in my time here with him. I think he put me in great positions, taught me a lot of things. I'm eternally thankful for it."
A fourth-round pick in 2006, Avant has flourished as McNabb's safety blanket on third downs in the slot. Avant had a career-best 41 catches for 587 yards and three touchdowns in 2009 which earned him a new five-year contract earlier this off-season. Avant said that he'll remember how McNabb took him under his wing as a rookie and showed him the right way to work and prepare. Avant was one of the Eagles who traveled to Arizona each off-season to work out with McNabb.
Now, Avant and the Eagles will face him twice a year since McNabb remains in the NFC East with the Redskins.
"It's going to be really tough," Avant said. "That's the hardest part; that he's going to the Redskins. They're going to be a much more potent team. ... That's a scary thing. With him, they're a Super Bowl contender."
However, that doesn't mean Avant lacks confidence in McNabb's successor in Kolb.
"We know that (Kolb) has a great future. We know that Mike (Vick) is a Pro Bowl quarterback. We definitely know that the team will be all right," Avant said. "It's just that losing a guy like Donovan in the locker room, his personality, it's just going to be different.
"We have to find new leadership and we have to find it soon."
Teammates have cited Avant in the past as one of the burgeoning leaders on this team. They pointed to his 156-yard performance against San Diego where he nearly single handedly willed the team to a come-from-behind win. But Avant isn't going to change who he is.
"I am who I am. It's not going to change anything," Avant said. "I'm not going to press to do anything. Most of all, I want to lead by example and let my words be few."
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 11:35 a.m., April 5