Donovan McNabb: The Next Chapter

A rejuvenated Donovan McNabb ready to chase the Super Bowl again

The Redskins practice twice on Day 3 of training camp, while Albert Haynesworth skips his third attempt to pass a conditioning test because of swelling in his knee.
By Rick Maese
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, August 1, 2010

In the weeks and months that have preceded the 2010 season, Donovan McNabb has told anyone who asks how the move to a new city and new team has made him feel like a rookie again.

The Redskins' new starting quarterback also harkens back to 1999, when boos rained from the balcony of Radio City Music Hall in New York, where Philadelphia fans eagerly voiced their frustration with the Eagles' first-round draft pick. A young McNabb, quick, mobile and personable, sprinted through an obstacle course of interviews before stepping outside to a waiting limousine.

Brad Childress, the Eagles' quarterbacks coach at the time, had barely introduced himself before he shoved a 200-page playbook under McNabb's nose, something to read during the late-night drive back to Philadelphia. The quarterback didn't mind. He was willing to do anything. Even then, McNabb's goal was clear.

"I wanted to have a parade on Broad Street and bring a Super Bowl championship back to Philadelphia," McNabb says.

In Philadelphia, he never did. "We got so close," he says, noting five division titles and one losing Super Bowl appearance.

Eleven years later, McNabb, charged with returning the Washington Redskins to glory, says he feels like a rookie again -- even though nearly everything about his life is different.

He is a millionaire many times over, and his face is one of the most recognizable in American sports. He has a team of assistants who care for his body, another that tends to the Donovan McNabb brand, another that focuses on his foundation, his business enterprises, his many charitable endeavors. Plus, he has a wife, four children, parents and a brother, all of whom are tethered to nearly every endeavor McNabb undertakes.

If McNabb feels like a rookie again, it's because while so much has changed, his goal hasn't.

He has carefully preserved his body to ensure that even as he creeps into the NFL's senior-citizen territory, it is still attainable.

Now 33 years old, McNabb will take aim at a championship with a new offensive system, new coaches and new teammates but the same evolving skill set, the same competitive fire. Though critics point out deficiencies behind the impressive statistics McNabb has compiled since he broke into the league, the quarterback feels his goal is as achievable as ever.

"I've been hit by confetti at the Super Bowl site, but I wasn't by the podium," he says. "And that's something that drives me."

Behind-the-scenes work

There are days -- particularly during the season -- when McNabb wakes up and can feel the reminders of all 164 games in which he's appeared, the lingering effects of every one of the 405 sacks he's endured. Keeping his body fresh requires a lot of work. It means regular visits each week to the chiropractor, masseuse and acupuncturist. It requires a strict diet and an intense, unrelenting workout regimen.

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