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McNabb Battled Same Criticism As Tebow

As the media attention at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. is focused on whether Florida's Tim Tebow can be a quarterback in the NFL, about 700 miles away is a six-time Pro Bowl quarterback who dealt with the same questions 11 years ago.

Donovan McNabb arrived at the 1999 Senior Bowl as the most prolific quarterback in the history of Syracuse University. He was the Big East conference's offensive player of the decade and a three-time recipient of the conference's offensive player of the year honor.

However, there were critics who questioned whether McNabb could play in a traditional NFL offense, such as the West Coast. When McNabb spoke to reporters at the Pro Bowl on Wednesday, he offered some advice to Tebow as he reflected on his Senior Bowl week.

"There were the Mel Kipers who said I wouldn't be able to learn a West Coast offense, said McNabb, who explained how Syracuse ran a spread-style attack, not an option-based offense as many people believed.

""I think what Tim has to do is continue to focus on his fundamentals. Don't watch TV. Don't listen to the radio and just try to improve each day. I think the Senior Bowl is a great platform to get out there and showcase his talents. Everyone is talking about different things about his throwing mechanics and things of that nature. Just work on his fundamentals and when the time comes I think he will be happy when he's drafted."

McNabb was 7-of-15 for 100 yards and led the North team on two scoring drives in his Senior Bowl performance. McNabb explained to prior to the 1999 Draft how the Senior Bowl helped change the perception of him as just an option-style quarterback.

"I believe people began to understand that we're not just guys out there running the ball all day," McNabb said. "We have to make checks at the line of scrimmage, we're reading defenses, we're making reads on the run. Maybe I run around back there in the pocket. But there's a reason for that. I just try to make a play out there."

-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 1:53 p.m., January 28

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