Donovan McNabb said Wednesday that he takes no offense to last year’s third-string quarterback, John Beck, declaring that he sees himself as the starting quarterback for the Redskins in 2011.
McNabb remains under contract with the team, though it appears all but a foregone conclusion that he and Washington are headed toward a divorce just one season after the Redskins gave up two high draft picks to acquire him.
Following the draft, Coach Mike Shanahan expressed confidence in Beck, whom Washington also acquired last year. Beck said he is preparing as if he is the starter, helping organize offseason workouts and studying film.
Earlier this week, Beck said that he was glad the situation didn’t work out between McNabb and the Redskins because it created the opportunity for him to compete for a starting job for the first time since 2007.
But McNabb -- while appearing with his wife and mother on Wednesday at the grand opening of Mary’s Center, a medical facility in Ward 4 – said the offseason buzz hasn’t fazed him.
“I don’t pay attention. I really don’t know what he said. All I’ve heard is that Shanahan is backing John Beck to be the starter,” said McNabb, who despite his uncertain future, has remained involved in the D.C. community. “It really doesn’t matter to me. If I’m here, or if I’m elsewhere, I’ll be fine.”
When told what Beck had said, McNabb shrugged off the comments.
“John is a great guy. He does a great job preparing himself,” the six-time Pro Bowl quarterback said. “I’ve known him since he was about 16 years old. I’ve trained with him in Arizona, he went to BYU. He’s done a great job, and I’m sure he’s taking on that role because he’s kind of been given the position, so to speak. He’ll do a good job if that was to happen. But whatever the situation is – if I’m here, if I’m elsewhere -- I’m gonna be ready to go.”
While Beck’s declaration of confidence didn’t bother McNabb, last week’s allegations that he refused to wear a wristband bearing the Redskins plays because he didn’t want to hurt his image did.
McNabb declined to say whether he refused to wear the wristband but described the allegations as, “amazing,” and wondered aloud why individuals at Redskins Park continue to direct anonymous criticism in his direction.
“For someone who’s so quiet and really just tries to be the best at what I do, and to be a part of the firestorm every offseason, it’s amazing,” said McNabb, who prior coming to Washington regularly endured offseason rumors that his time in Philadelphia was up. “But I never let that affect what I’m doing. I write goals for myself every season and offseason, and I look to achieve those goals, and they really make you stronger mentally and physically. Things are going to be out there negative, out there about you. Everyone’s going to play the hoopla and what-if. But I can only control what I can control. All I can do is make sure I’m ready when the time comes.”
McNabb said he has no idea where he will wind up next season, mainly because of the uncertainty caused by the NFL lockout, which prohibits player trades until the labor dispute is resolved.
“I don’t know. Maybe I’ll play for the Nationals,” he said before adding that he still has a strong fondness for Redskins fans. “I love the city of D.C. and the fans have really welcomed me with open arms, and really, no one outside can control what happens at Redskins Park. They’ll make their decision and whatever decision it is, I’ll keep on moving. I played with some great guys and have kept communicating with them. What we started can only get better. But it’s their decision.”
McNabb said an example of his love for the D.C. area was his decision to support Mary’s Center and other D.C. area charities, although he could very well be playing elsewhere next season.
“It’s important for people to realize that I do more than play football and to give back and be part of the community, especially something special like this, where you are helping people who are less fortunate to just go out and see a dentist or get any type of work that they need to live healthier lives, that’s something I’m glad to be a part of.”