Donovan McNabb officially retires as an Eagle (updated)

July 29, 2013

Donovan McNabb with owner Jeff Lurie. (Joseph Kaczmarek / AP)

Updated at 10:45 a.m.

The moment was an emotional one for Donovan McNabb, who stepped to the microphone at Lincoln Financial Field this morning and announced that he was, indeed, retiring as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles after signing a one-day contract.

He acknowledged that this is a “special day,” and added, “I’m not one for emotion, but this is tough.”

There’ll be another ceremony, on Sept. 19, at which McNabb’s number will be retired. “It’s rare to retire a number,” Eagles owner Jeff Lurie said, “but it’s richly deserved.” The Eagles’ opponent that day? Former Eagles Coach Andy Reid and his Kansas City Chiefs.

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Finally, Donovan McNabb will acknowledge that his NFL career is over as he signs a one-day contract this morning with the Philadelphia Eagles and retires as a member of the organization.

Michael Vick had a hug for Donovan McNabb on Sunday. (Matt Smith / AP)
Michael Vick had a hug for Donovan McNabb on Sunday. (Matt Smith / AP)

“You know what? You just don’t ever see it happening,” McNabb said Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field (via Bob Grotz of Delcotimes.com).  “As a kid you wish something like this would happen. But it’s coming true and I’m excited. I’m more excited for my kids. I can do it in front of my family. Probably my youngest won’t understand it, but I can come back 10 or 15 years from now and they can take a look up and see their dad did something.”

They’ll be another bigger ceremony, at which McNabb’s No. 5 will be retired, on Sept. 19 when Andy Reid, his former coach, brings the Kansas City Chiefs to Philly. Despite stops in Washington and Minnesota, McNabb will go out as a member of the team he led to a 92-49-1 record, five NFC championship-game appearances and one Super Bowl loss.

“I think when you’ve played this game for so long, you’ve just got to know when to say when,” McNabb said. “You get to later in your career and you want to win a championship. You don’t want to go through a rebuilding phase. You don’t want to be kind of a stop-and-shop guy. You want to go somewhere where you can kind of get settled. And I just felt like my best move was to go on to my next phase.

“You just have a feel. But it’s a tough decision. When you come around to it you have to be confident in your decision because you don’t want to waver. Once you waver, then it becomes a problem.”

Follow @CindyBoren on Twitter and on Facebook.

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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Cindy Boren | July 29, 2013