Donovan McNabb still hopes to return to Washington Redskins in 2011

The Washington Post's Barry Svrluga, Rick Maese, Dan Steinberg and Jonathan Forsythe break down Rex Grossman's performance in the Redskins' 33-30 loss to Dallas and discuss the team's future prospects at quarterback.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 21, 2010; 11:37 PM

Despite the drama that surrounds his status with the Redskins, demoted quarterback Donovan McNabb says he told Coach Mike Shanahan that he hopes to return to the team next season.

"I don't want to go anywhere," McNabb said Tuesday in his first public comments since Shanahan benched him last week.

But discussing the matter on his weekly radio appearance on ESPN 980, McNabb acknowledged that the decision isn't ultimately up to him, and he's not certain what Shanahan intends to do after the season.

"I don't know," he said. "That will be a question that probably will be answered sometime this offseason." Asked if he wants to be traded or released, McNabb said, "No, I want to be here. I really do. . . . I don't believe in starting something and not finishing."

McNabb said his relationship with Shanahan is not irreparably damaged but acknowledged the timing of the benching - last Thursday night, less than 72 hours before kickoff in Dallas - felt "somewhat disrespectful."

"The way this whole thing went down, to me, was off," he said, "and one I strongly disagreed with."

After starting the team's first 13 games this season, McNabb was benched last week in favor of backup Rex Grossman. In his first start since October 2008, Grossman was 25-for-43 passing for 322 yards, four touchdowns and a passer rating of 93.4 in Sunday's 33-30 loss at the Dallas Cowboys. He also threw two interceptions, lost one fumble and was sacked five times.

While McNabb served as the backup to Grossman last week, this week he'll be relegated to the Redskins' No. 3 quarterback spot. John Beck, who hasn't appeared in an NFL game since 2007, will be the team's first option if Grossman goes down. McNabb said Shanahan withheld that information from him in a meeting last week.

McNabb said he met Thursday after practice with Shanahan, who told him Grossman would start in his place against the Cowboys. McNabb said he learned he'd fallen all the way to No. 3 on the depth chart "through ESPN and everything else."

A team spokesman said Shanahan would not address McNabb's comments until Wednesday afternoon.

McNabb also said he hasn't spoken with Redskins owner Daniel Snyder or the team's general manager, Bruce Allen, since the benching.

"I've talked to the janitor a couple times, the cooks, chefs. . . . They're doing great," he said.

Shanahan said last week he's seen enough from McNabb in 13 games to evaluate him, but McNabb said he thinks a quarterback needs more time than that to learn a new offensive system. "You really can't judge if someone is good for your offense off of just one season," he said.

Asked whether Shanahan was unprofessional in his handling of the situation, McNabb said: "In business, communication is key in anything you do.

"Normally if you go through a process like that, you'd hear about it on a Monday or a Tuesday," he said. "I don't think you pretty much hear about it Thursday going to a Friday practice."

Shanahan acknowledged Monday he knew his decision would be unpopular in some circles, dissected and second-guessed from every angle.

"That's part of coaching," Shanahan said. "People are going to question you all the time. You know it's part of the process, but you got to do what you believe is right."

Shanahan has said he told McNabb there was no guarantee the six-time Pro Bowler would be the Redskins' quarterback in 2011, even though the team gave McNabb a contract extension in November.

"As far as the guarantee is concerned, I really wasn't looking for a guarantee," McNabb said. "I wanted to hear thoughts, what are you thinking. None of that really truly was expressed."

McNabb was also asked about his relationship with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, which has been the subject of considerable speculation the past several weeks.

"I thought we had a pretty decent relationship, one that was growing," McNabb said. "I still feel somewhat that way."

When the Redskins hit the practice field Wednesday to begin preparing for the Jacksonville Jaguars, McNabb said he'll "be doing whatever it takes to help win."

Unless Washington has to turn to McNabb as its emergency quarterback in the final two games, he'll finish this season - his 12th in the league - with 3,377 passing yards, 14 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. That would mark the first season of his career that McNabb has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns. His 77.1 passer rating is ranked No. 26 in the NFL and is McNabb's worst since his rookie season.

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