Tracing The McNabb Rumors

Tracing The McNabb Rumors

In case you're only crawling out of your bomb shelters now, Donovan McNabb is still a Philadelphia Eagle. Celebrate or curse at your own discretion.

It seems what started as an unsubstantiated rumor and became a sensational breaking report within a few hours was completely false—at least that's what the St. Louis Rams would have you think. Nothing is imminent though, and depending on who you believe, there hasn't even been a conversation. It's amazing everybody could wander so far off the trail...

Unless I told you the entire rumor began at Bleacher Report.

When 97.5's Mike Missanelli received an anonymous tip yesterday on his show that a trade would be announced within hours, we immediately jumped into action. Unless it was a contact with ties to the Eagles front office, there wasn't any reason we couldn't track down the same information.

So that's exactly what we did. With the assistance of Twitter, we were able to trace the initial rumor all the way back to its internet source. The most recent discussion sprung from a Bleacher Report article asking whether the Rams would pursue McNabb, which began:

Rumors are swirling that the Philadelphia Eagles are in talks to trade Donovan McNabb. Among the likely candidates for the trade is St. Louis, owner of the first pick in the upcoming draft.

If the Rams did trade for McNabb, what might be the compensation? More than likely, it would involve the Rams' second-round pick along with a player (maybe Adam Carriker?). It is highly doubtful that such a trade would involve their first-round pick.

The timing of the story just happened to coincide with Andy Reid's concession that yes, the Eagles are entertaining offers for their quarterbacks, and Donovan McNabb announcing he understands the situation and simply hopes it's resolved quickly. Somebody at WFAN in New York apparently connected the dots, and the speculation was officially under way.

Up to that point, that's all it was. It didn't matter that nobody credible was reporting it though, or that Rams sideline reporter and ESPN radio personality Brian Stull was refuting it very early on. The news grew legs quickly, and there was no stopping it by the time the Inquirer's Jeff McLane got a hold of it. His sources initially verified something was in the works, but apparently have since backed off.

The popular consensus is we were all taken for a ride. The Eagles were obviously interested in generating trade talk, otherwise they would not have changed their stance in such a public manner. By quietly confirming a few highly speculative reports, they were able to create a sense of urgency, for however brief a period, where one did not previously exist. Whether it was of any benefit to them or not, who knows.

Some people are still suggesting there was smoke, so there must be fire, and they might be right too. Despite the strong denials coming out of St. Louis, it's plausible they were close to a deal, but Donovan's contract demands were the final sticking point and caused everything to fall apart. His value plummets as soon as reaching an extension becomes a problem, an often overlooked piece of the puzzle.

And maybe talks aren't finished at all. The most surprising part of this entire thing was the speed at which the Eagles went from finally acknowledging they need to make a trade, to a deal could happen any minute. That's a lot of business for one day—reaching an agreement on a compensation package involving picks and players for a franchise QB, then negotiating an extension. You might even call that timeline unrealistic.

There's no telling what is true at the moment. Could the fact that Bleacher Report and talk radio mentioned it first be a coincidence, or was the chatter used as a diabolical means by the Eagles to promote their own agenda? Better yet, are quality reporters like McLane actually on to something that all the denials in the world couldn't cover up: McNabb is close to becoming a member of the St. Louis Rams?

Either way, things are finally getting interesting.

Even Mike Trout wants to see Sam Bradford's return to Philly

Even Mike Trout wants to see Sam Bradford's return to Philly

When Angels All-Star outfielder Mike Trout's six-year, $144.5 million contract ends in 2020, the Millville, New Jersey, native will be in his prime at 29 years old, and Phillies' fans dream of seeing Trout playing at Citizens Bank Park could be come true.

For the time being, though, Trout, a season-ticket holder, is just chilling at Lincoln Financial Field as the Eagles play the Vikings on Sunday because the Angels are almost as bad as the Phillies and even he couldn't stay away from Sam Bradford's return to Philadelphia.

Michael Del Zotto, Scott Laughton return to practice

Michael Del Zotto, Scott Laughton return to practice

VOORHEES, N.J. — The Flyers welcomed two more players out on to the rink for their practice following Saturday’s 6-3 win over Carolina. 

Michael Del Zotto (lower body) and Scott Laughton (lower body) returned to the ice for the first time since suffering injuries within days of each other. Before Sunday’s light practice, Del Zotto and Laughton had skated two consecutive days prior to work on their conditioning. 

“It’s nice to see them back with the group,” head coach Dave Hakstol said. 

Laughton, who injured himself during a training camp practice after losing an edge, was a bit more forward than Del Zotto on when he hopes to return. 

“I would say within the next five to seven days,” Laughton said.

The 22-year-old pointed to Saturday’s game with Pittsburgh as his target to return. 

As for Del Zotto, the defenseman didn’t want to jinx anything, saying it’s a “day-by-day” situation. He would like to think he’s working on the same timetable as Laughton. If that’s the case, he would be back either a few days before or right on cue with the projected four to five weeks he was scheduled to miss after suffering an injury to his left knee in the preseason against the New York Rangers on Oct. 6. 

“It’s kind of trial and error,” Del Zotto said. 

Above all else, though, the two were just happy to be back with their teammates. Del Zotto said that being around everyone really rejuvenated his spirits. 

“Just being back around the guys and having that team chemistry and camaraderie and being able to joke with the guys,” Del Zotto said, “it’s probably been the best thing for me.”

This past month has especially been hard on the two because of the timing and how last season ended for them. 

While there’s never an ideal time to suffer an injury, the pair saw training camp and the approaching start of the regular season in a different light than most of their teammates.

It was supposed to be their new start. Last season, Del Zotto missed the final few months, including the postseason, after ligament damage to his left wrist. He was having a strong preseason, arguably the top defenseman in camp at the time before suffering his setback.

“Being out so long last year and having to sit and watch playoffs than having six months of grueling rehab to get back into it … that made it sting that much more,” Del Zotto said. “That’s part of the game. It’s a contact sport. I signed up for this.”

The same can be said for Laughton, who experienced a scary injury in Game 4 against Washington after being dumped head first into the boards. 

“I was really excited to have camp and start the year here,” Laughton said. 

The two will be traveling to Montreal with the rest of the Flyers for Monday’s contest. They will each do the morning skate with another bag skate afterward.