Ever since Andy Reid made Donovan McNabb the No. 2 overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft and the first pick of the Reid era, the two have teamed up to be the winningest head coach-quarterback duo in Eagles history.
On Sunday night, Reid dealt McNabb to the Washington Redskins to allow Kevin Kolb, who was a top pick of the Eagles eight years after McNabb was drafted, to take the reins as the starting quarterback.
Needless to say, it was tough for Reid to part with the man with whom he had shared so much success.
"It was tough on all of us. As far as myself, I was very close with Donovan and I'll remain close with Donovan; that part won't change. You can't erase the last 11 years. We had 11 great years together and I know he'll go on and have success the remaining part of his career," Reid said. "Unfortunately, things like this happen in the National Football League and I've said this before, when we talk about Brian Dawkins and Brian Westbrook, if you're lucky enough to stay around as long as when I have, then you're going to go through situations like this where you have to go in a different direction."
Reid did not pull the trigger on a deal without keeping McNabb's best interests at heart. Reid said that he never received any indication that McNabb wouldn't play for a specific team. However, he did tell McNabb's agent Fletcher Smith about the team's plans to ship the six-time Pro Bowl quarterback down I-95 South to the Nation's capital. When Reid spoke to McNabb personally to deliver him the news, it wasn't easy for McNabb to take.
"I'm not trying to sugarcoat this either," Reid said. "I know it's tough on him but I know he'll do a fine job down there. He was very good, though."
With three quarterbacks scheduled to enter the final year of their respective deals, the Eagles leveraged plenty of power in a league where there are numerous teams in dire need of improvement at the quarterback position. The Eagles got a deal that was good for them, as well as for McNabb.
"I knew, because of the way the league operates and because the quarterbacks were set up, contractually with one year left, that people would be interested," Reid said. "We sat back and listened. It was that simple. We thought we did what was best for our organization and at the same time what was best for Donovan."
McNabb leaves Philadelphia with virtually every franchise passing record. Reid reiterated once again, as he has many times in the past, that McNabb will be a Hall of Fame quarterback one day. Reid believes that McNabb's legacy should be that he is "the greatest quarterback ever to play for the Philadelphia Eagles to this point."
The final question of Reid's press conference at the NovaCare Complex on Sunday night allowed Reid to evoke his favorite memory of the superstar quarterback.
"There are so many of them. Right when you said it, I thought of fourth-and-26," Reid said. "There were a lot of those days. He's made a mark in the city of Philadelphia and I know he's going to be a future Hall of Famer. He has made a mark every year he has played."
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 12:30 a.m., April 5