Washington Redskins introduce Donovan McNabb at news conference

"It feels like being drafted again," new Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb said as he's introduced at a news conference. (John Mcdonnell/the Washington Post)
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By Rick Maese
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The last time Donovan McNabb held up such a jersey, his last name and the familiar No. 5 hastily stitched in foreign colors, he was 22 years old and just hours removed from the NFL draft. Then, just as now, the expectations found his shoulders with much more force than celebratory confetti flakes.

The colors are now burgundy and gold. The name, the number and the haughty expectations, though, are still the same.

"It feels like being drafted again," McNabb said Tuesday, less than 48 hours removed from the Easter trade that took his career from Philadelphia to Washington. "You've been selected by a new team. You're going through all the emotions of learning new plays, being with the guys, working out. So it feels like I'm about 22 again."

But now he's 33, with 11 years of highs and lows behind him -- and he hopes several more years of highs ahead. While some will deride his age, he said he comes to Washington with experiences that will again make the Redskins competitive in the NFC East. The six-time Pro Bowler might be in position to know, having won five division titles from 2001 to 2006.

"Every time we stepped out on that field, we felt confident that we could win, and I look forward to bringing that to Washington," McNabb said.

Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan introduced his new starting quarterback at the news conference. Team owner Daniel Snyder and General Manager Bruce Allen watched from the back of the room and were not made available to reporters afterward.

McNabb wasn't the only quarterback in the building Tuesday. Colt McCoy, a draft prospect from Texas, was in town for a visit. Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford landed in Washington later in the afternoon and had dinner with coaches in the evening. The one quarterback who was missing from the mix was last year's starter, Jason Campbell, who, people close to Campbell indicated, has decided to stop attending the team's offseason conditioning program.

Even with McNabb on the roster, there's still uncertainty surrounding the Redskins' quarterback position. Despite acquiring McNabb, Shanahan would not rule out the possibility of using the No. 4 pick to select a quarterback in this month's draft. Even after the McNabb deal was complete, the team opted against canceling visits this week with McCoy, Bradford, and Florida's Tim Tebow. In addition, the Redskins are still scheduled to travel and hold private workouts for both Bradford and Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen this month.

"We go according to our draft. We're going to take a look at that board. There's a lot of possibilities," Shanahan said. "You got free agency, you have the draft, you've got possible trades. Like I said all along, we're going to try to put the best football team together and there's a lot of intangibles that go into it."

McNabb said he spotted McCoy in the building Tuesday and was aware that Bradford and Clausen are apparently still on the team's radar. Since the Eagles drafted Kevin Kolb in 2007, McNabb had grown accustomed to looking over his shoulder in Philadelphia, but he wasn't worried about the Redskins visiting with quarterback prospects.

"That's really none of my concern," McNabb said. "My focus is to make sure I'm prepared and ready to go and to try to help this team."

Though McNabb barely arrived in town Monday, he didn't waste much time diving into his new job. "I started today," he said, noting that he'd stick around town for at least a couple of weeks and participate in the team's offseason conditioning program and the first minicamp, which runs April 16-18.

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