After rousing reception, McNabb to retire an Eagle

After rousing reception, McNabb to retire an Eagle

July 29, 2013, 7:00 am
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Donovan McNabb received a warm welcome from the fans during the Eagles' open practice on Sunday and will officially retire as a member of the team Monday morning. (AP)

His name starts endless debate, radio station callers still phone in just to complain about him years later, and sometimes his own comments don't do much to help his cause.

But depending on who you ask, Donovan McNabb's reception at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday may have been louder than the one given to Brian Dawkins.

McNabb was just one of the alumni on-hand for the Eagles' first open practice and is in town to officially retire as an Eagle. The ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. Monday and be shown live on Comcast SportsNet.

But on Sunday, McNabb spoke with CSN's Derrick Gunn about his reception from the fans, the Eagles' quarterback battle and the loss of Jeremy Maclin.

On that ovation from Lincoln Financial Field crowd: "I thought it was warm. I thought it was great to be in front of the fans again. Obviously, I haven't been out of that tunnel in so long now. It's been about -- what? -- five years almost? The exciting part for me is to come back and be around my former teammates, the current players that are playing, and to get back out on that field again.

"I don't have any regrets over anything that's happened, nor do I think I can still get out there and play," he added, laughing. "I'm enjoying every bit of this retired life."

When McNabb was still in uniform, he played alongside Vick in Vick's first year back in the NFL. Four seasons later, McNabb is out of the game, and although Vick has taken over as the Eagles' franchise quarterback, he now finds himself in a battle with Nick Foles for the starting job.

"It's tough to say. I think it's Mike's position," McNabb said, when asked for his thoughts on who will be under center Week 1. "I think it's out there for Michael Vick, and I think Mike understands that. But you have to be to separate yourself, and I think for Vick, [he] just has to put everything behind, focus on what he's doing, and just go out and make plays."

McNabb had previously made comments that Vick was following his own path of "trying to please everyone."

"[He's] worried about the response or reaction from the outside," McNabb said Sunday. "We all know how talented he is on the football field, and what he can present to teams if he can just stay consistent in what he's doing, and just focus in on that aspect, everything else will take care of itself."

As for one of Vick's top targets, McNabb played just one year with receiver Jeremy Maclin, who is expected to miss the season after tearing his ACL on Saturday, but No. 5 lauded Maclin for his contributions through his first four seasons.

"He's been the most consistent wide receiver on this team," McNabb said. "You talk about over 50 catches each year, even though he's missed some time, 50 catches each year and last year he almost has 1,000 yards receiving.

"So yes, we know about all the big plays downfield DeSean [Jackson] presents, and some of [the things] the other guys have done, but [Maclin] has been the steadiest receiver, intermediate-wise. He's the guy who's led them in catches. So when you miss a guy like that, it puts a little dent in the offense."