News | Washington Football Team -

Donovan McNabb Introductory Press Conference


Head Coach Mike Shanahan

Opening Statement:

"Until yesterday, I had not yet had the opportunity to meet Donovan [McNabb] before. We had dinner last night and a quick kinship evolved. Here are two guys from Chicago, two guys starting out with a fresh start -- it's better than being fired. That sounds better than being fired - a fresh start, doesn't it? Anyway, we have two similar goals, and that's to win Super Bowls.

"My wife asked me yesterday, we were sitting around, and she said, 'Give me some stats on Donovan.' And I said, 'Well, let me give you some of the important ones. He's won 65 percent of his games. He's been to five NFC Championships in the last 11 years.' She said, 'Well, when was the team (Eagles) there last before Donovan?' She had me. 'I don't know, 20 years?' So all of a sudden a guy comes in, Donovan McNabb, and takes a franchise to the NFC Championship game five out of his 11 years.

"I'm excited, number one, to have him as our quarterback on our football team. He's an excellent leader. He's everything that you look for in a quarterback, and I'm not just talking about the physical attributes: leadership, how he carries himself, what he'll do in his community, to the way he'll lead this football team.

"Without any further ado, our quarterback, Donovan McNabb."

Quarterback Donovan McNabb

"Well, good afternoon everyone. Obviously this is a different change from what I'm used to, but there are days in life you go through change and find out sometimes there's a positive light on the other side of the tunnel. I'm here with a great organization. An organization that wants to win and wants to win now. I'm surrounded by a great group of athletes, and a great group of players who are willing to put in the time and effort in order to achieve that common goal, and that's to win a Super Bowl. And I'm happy to be a part of that.

"Mr. [Daniel] Snyder and Coach [Mike] Shanahan have sat down and talked to me about their plan, and I'm just very excited to be a part of that. Obviously, for 11 years, playing under a future Hall of Fame coach and now playing under another Hall of Fame coach, and the things that he has accomplished with great quarterbacks like John Elway, a guy who I've been pretty much compared to throughout all my career so far. It just so happens that he stepped into him when he was 34 -- I'm turning 34 this year - and they finished John's career with two Super Bowls. Hopefully I can continue to follow behind that.

"But one person can't achieve that. You achieve that as a team and these guys here who I had an opportunity to work out with this morning and see come in and out of the facility brings joy to my heart and inspires me to give them all that I have, and I will promise to give them that. Everything that I've been a part of, we've won. We may not have won the Super Bowl, but we won, and we look to achieve that goal, and that's to win the Super Bowl.

"In starting out like that, I guess I'll open up for questions."

On how he reconciles that he has accomplished so much, but was traded:

"You know what, I try not to focus on that. Again, I've been a part of a lot of different things that have happened in Philadelphia: when guys have been released, guys have been traded, guys haven't been signed back. And just recently, Brian Dawkins, who is the ultimate Eagle, who has given everything that he has and for you not to bring him back kind of opens up the door to let everyone know that we're all replaceable. I've been a part of it this year, but neither one of us are going to hang our head low. We're going to continue to keep our heads high for the teams which we're playing. We're going to give all that we have, as you saw what Brian was able to display last year. I'm very excited to be part of this situation here and hopefully we'll continue to improve and bring some wins here."

On whether the Redskins were his first choice:

"Was that something reported from the sources again? You know, when it comes to situations like this, when trade is involved, teams are interested. Obviously with the team that you're given, they offer, they put on the table what they're asking for, and things happen. I'm just so happy that it's over. Awaiting this opportunity, obviously if it was going to happen, to just get in and start working with the guys. I think it's important that you build that rapport with the guys because these are the guys you're going out on the field with. When you go into battle with these guys, they have to look at you and know you're going to give everything that you have. That they can count on you. I think it all starts here in this offseason and it started today for me and it's going to continue."

On providing consistency at the quarterback position in Washington:

"It's about winning. Hopefully I can bring a little bit of winning attitude over and we can display that on the field. I think we have the athletes to do that."

On what it will be like to wear a Redskins jersey for the first time:

"I don't think it'll be different at all. I think a lot of times people get caught up in the hoopla of him going back to the place he started, or the uniforms being different. For me it's not any different. It'll be an exciting deal for me to put on the uniform, but we have time for that. I think this opportunity for me to spend time with the guys here, that's something I cherish. After seeing different faces in the locker room in Philadelphia and kind of working with the same guys, I love the challenge of being able to present and display your talents to gel with a new group of guys. You know, we got a great group in here, so it's unfortunate that the success hasn't been there for them in the previous years, but we look forward to bringing success here. There's a lot of guys on this team who come from given teams and they were winning there, so they have the winning attitude, we just have to put it together."

On playing the Eagles twice during the 2010 season:

"I don't look at it any differently than playing the (New York) Giants or Dallas (Cowboys). It's nothing I'm going to run my head through a locker, or start throwing stuff in my house. It's an opportunity to play against another team, and for us to hopefully try to bring a win home."

On his conversation with Jason Campbell:

"I did speak with him. I called him and just let him know that this wasn't one of my plans of coming to try to take his spot. Jason is a great guy and hard worker and a friend that I continue to talk with throughout the years. I try to be a mentor to him, and I want to see nothing but success for him and the opportunity to revive his career. We just reflected on a couple of moments throughout his career so far, and I told him, 'The sky's the limit for you. Continue to have your head high. Every now and then through life you go through adversities. This is just another hurdle you'll be able to go over and continue walking down the path God has set for us.'"

On his conversation with Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb:

"I have talked to Kevin [Kolb]. I talked to Kevin last night and we talked for a while. I'm excited for him. I think he'll be fine. Andy [Reid] is a great coach and a great guy and he's shown the confidence and trust in Kevin, and I think Kevin has learned a lot over the years. He has the ability to be successful in this league. Now it's for him to just put it out on the field in a 16-game season. We'll definitely see."

On the possibility of a contract extension:

"That's not my focus right now. My focus is the fact that this whole rumor, seeing myself on ESPN, and every other sports station and in the news, whatever it may be, that this is over. I've landed here in Washington and I'm very excited about that. As far as anything else that's potent, that may take care of itself, whatever it may be, but I'm a Redskin."

On his feelings toward playing the Eagles for the first time next season:

"For those who know me know I'm not a high and low kind of a guy. I'm pretty much even keel and have fun doing it. It's going to be an enjoyable week, but nothing to the fact that it would be any different than playing the Giants or Dallas. We have a tough schedule ahead of us, so I won't be picking two games out of the schedule that I look forward to playing. You have to be ready to play at all times in this league."

On being the starting quarterback and changing offensive schemes:

"There's competition in every position. I treat that mentality every year because I always feel like you have to show the team something different each year for everyone to gain that confidence- that this offense is going be the one that scores a lot of points. There will be competition at every position. Secondly, the offenses are somewhat similar, but very different. Talking to coach [Mike] Shanahan, he's been through a lot of different offenses and fortunately I will now say that I've probably been part of two. There will be a change, but I look to going back and studying and making sure I have this thing second-nature to me, and get out there and make plays for this team."

On fitting in Coach Shanahan's system:

"Well, when the trade was done, I went back to when John [Elway] played and obviously when Jay [Cutler] was in Denver, and the things they were able to do in that offense. Obviously that starts with the run game; probably a lot of who came from Philly don't know much about that part of the run game. We will run the ball here. We got three solid running backs that are very effective and have done well with their given teams, but we also have some talented wide receivers and tight ends here, as well. I think it's important that we be able to spread it around and get guys involved and give them the opportunity to make plays for us. And for me, you just have to be the guy that orchestrates everything, make sure everybody's confident and ready to go and ready to make that big play for us."

On the player benefits of communication between coaches, management, and ownership:

"The comfort level has to start from the top and I think that everyone focuses on the players. The players are confident going in, but if there's no confidence, there's no backing, no trust value from upstairs down to the head coach then it trickles down to the locker room, and that's when things really go wrong. But there's a comfort level here. There's a confidence level here. There's a backing here knowing that Mr. Snyder and Coach Shanahan are on the same page and it trickles down in the locker room where guys begin to rely on each other to make that play or have that confidence knowing that guy's going to be ready to play at all times. And what that does is attribute to wins. And when you win, everyone feels good."

Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On why Donovan McNabb is a good fit for the Washington Redskins:

"First of all, I didn't think there was really going to be an opportunity to get Donovan. It came fairly quickly. Bruce Allen, he would get into a little bit more details than I would, but I can tell you that at the end of the day, when the deal was done, I was a little bit surprised, but I was not shocked. I was very excited. When I went to Denver, as Donovan had mentioned, John Elway was entering his 13th year. When I was in San Francisco, when Steve Young won the Super Bowl, he was in his 11th year. And when you do have a quarterback that has won, a quarterback who that knows how to lead, a quarterback that knows how to set the standard, it sets the tempo for the rest of the team. It doesn't happen very often when you have players like that, yet in the situation that we were in I felt very, very fortunate for this to come about. You know, we talk about a month ago, just in general details, but you know Bruce and Andy [Reid] talked quite a bit over the past few days and somehow put a deal together. I feel very fortunate to have, not just a quarterback, but a person like Donovan and it doesn't happen very often."

Quarterback Donovan McNabb

On how he felt he was treated during his tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles:

"I felt that I was treated fairly. Never have you heard me complain about what the fans are doing or the media because that's really none of my concern. I block that out. You have to understand, in this game in which we play, there's so many distractions, and if you allow it to affect what you do and what your team relies on you to do, you're never going to accomplish anything. Through my 11 years, you can't say that I haven't accomplished a lot. There's one thing that I didn't accomplish and I look to hopefully accomplish it here in Washington, and that's winning the Super Bowl. Now, if that happens, that's outstanding, and I'll be looking to try to win another one. But again, that doesn't happen just from one person. I think a lot of times we focus so much on just one person instead of the team. This is a team game. One person can't do it by himself. There are 11 guys on both sides of the ball out there and we're all trying to do it together."

On adjusting to his new surroundings:

"It kind of feels like being drafted again. You've been selected by a team and you're going through all the motions of learning new plays, being here with the guys, working out, so it feels like I'm 22 again. The body may not respond that way, but the whole deal about it is, I mean, one thing we need to focus in on - we talk so much about me, me, me - this isn't an individual game. I think if you look to the right corner of this room you can see some of my teammates here supporting me today because they have that attitude and understand it takes all of us to achieve that common goal. We shouldn't focus so much on myself because I don't focus individually. It's about team, and for these guys to be here supporting me today, that says a lot about- not only about Coach Shanahan being here, but about where they want to go."

On his first conversation with Mike Shanahan:

"Well, he paid for dinner. That was good. We had a phone conversation obviously when the trade was done and we had a chance to sit down and just talk about our plan, talk about our goals, talk about sort of things that we'd like to accomplish here in the future. I think it was a very productive conversation where you could look back on it maybe a couple of years from now and say, 'You know, I remember talking about that a couple of days after Easter,' where we've been able to accomplish each goal in which we set for ourselves."

On if this move is a good change:

"I've always believed in finishing where you've started. I think there is a lot to be said with that. Not a lot of quarterbacks in this league are able to do that nowadays. But it says a lot about the things you learn to accomplish throughout your years. Sometimes change is better. Sometimes you are forced into change. I am excited about this opportunity of being here and the organization that knows about winning and I look to be a part of that."

On what his parting words to the fans of the Philadelphia Eagles would be:

"I would just want to say thank you. For giving me an opportunity to come in and display my talents and be able to be put in a position to get drafted when they were 3-13, going to 5-11, and to averaging nine or 10 wins a season. Not too many organizations can say that. For 11 years to make five NFC Championships and a Super Bowl appearance. Yes, we didn't win it, but it was a great ride. It was a ride in which every time we stepped out on the field the fans felt confident we could win that game. That's the most important thing. That's something we need to focus in on; every time the Eagles stepped out on the field everybody felt confident we could win that game and I look to bring that here in Washington."

Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On what the McNabb trade says about where the organization is headed:

"We talked about trying to improve every day, and that's what we're going try to do. We're going to try to improve every day if it's our offseason program, if it's free agency, if it's the draft. The one thing Dan [Snyder] has allowed me to do is put one heck of a staff together and a great supporting cast. We've got one goal in mind, and that's doing this thing the right way, and we are going to do it the right way. As Donovan has mentioned numerous times, you do this day by day. You don't look three months from now, saying, 'we're going to be 10-and-6, 11-and-5.' You just worry about today, and I think when you take a look in this room, you take a look at the commitment we have with these players, they're working extremely hard, not only in the offseason conditioning program, but watching film, studying the offense and defense. It gives us a chance to achieve some of our goals. That's why I'm enjoying myself, and having the opportunity to get players like Donovan and say, 'What's the best thing for this organization long term.'"

Quarterback Donovan McNabb

On how much of a burden is lifted from leaving Philadelphia:

"I'm just happy that it's all over right now; from where it all started at the end of the year to where we're at right now. As far as a burden off my shoulders, there was really never ever any burden on my shoulders. I've been a part of a lot of different things in my 11 years. I've been surrounded by a lot of great athletes, but it's over. I'm here starting a new chapter in the book of Donovan, and I look for great things to happen."

Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On Jason Campbell:

"I had lunch with Jason yesterday, and we had an excellent lunch. Jason was very candid. He asked me if I would allow him to have the opportunity past April 15th to look for a starting job in the National Football League. I told him definitely, that we would give him the ability to seek out the possibility to start for some team before the draft, and now we'll just wait and see. But if it doesn't work out, Jason will come back to us going 110 percent. One thing you know about Jason Campbell is he's a first class guy who gives it everything that he has. He's going to look for something that he's always wanted, and that's to be a starter, a consistent starter for an organization. Obviously he knows the situation here and we're going to give him every opportunity to seek what he's looking for."

Quarterback Donovan McNabb

On moving to the Washington, D.C., area:

"No concerns. I don't know much about the area. I'll hopefully get an opportunity to meet [President Barack] Obama, and that's by us winning a Super Bowl and presenting him a jersey. I know I just can't walk up to his doorbell and try to meet him. To learn more about the area, to learn more about the D.C., Virginia, Baltimore area. I don't know much about it, like I said, but hopefully in the next couple years of being here I'll learn a lot."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content