Philadelphia Eagles Coach Andy Reid did not clarify the playing status of injured quarterback Donovan McNabb for the remainder of the season, but he did name McNabb's short-term replacement today. Reid gave the starting nod to Mike McMahon for Sunday's game against the New York Giants at Giants Stadium.
With McNabb sidelined for at least one game, Reid went with McMahon, a former part-time starter in Detroit who signed with the Eagles last offseason as a free agent, over long-time backup Koy Detmer. Reid cited McMahon's mobility as the deciding factor.
The Eagles put off clarifying McNabb's status until after the quarterback consults with a specialist Thursday. McNabb underwent an MRI exam Tuesday, and few people in the league would be surprised if he is sidelined for the rest of the season. He has been playing all season with a sports hernia, a tearing of the abdominal muscles that will require surgery at some point. McNabb and the Eagles planned to postpone the surgery until after the season, and he remained in the lineup.
But he left Monday night's loss to the Dallas Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field, limping off the field after trying to make a tackle on safety Roy Williams's touchdown on an interception return that won the game for Dallas. McNabb played one more series before giving way to McMahon, departing with what Reid described as groin and abdominal soreness.
McMahon nearly won Monday's game, but rookie wide receiver Reggie Brown couldn't hold on to a pass inside the Dallas 20-yard line. That left kicker David Akers attempting a 60-yard field goal, which fell well short as time expired.
McNabb's 2,507 passing yards this season are the second-most in the league, behind the 2,560 of New England's Tom Brady. But McNabb is only the NFL's 14th-rated passer, with nine interceptions to go with his 16 touchdown throws.
Giants co-owner Robert Tisch died Tuesday night. He was 79 and had been diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer last year.
Tisch's condition had deteriorated in recent weeks, and Giants Coach Tom Coughlin said last weekend he'd been told last Friday that the outlook wasn't promising. Coughlin, General Manager Ernie Accorsi and two Giants players, defensive end Michael Strahan and tailback Tiki Barber, visited Tisch on Saturday, and members of Tisch's family addressed the team that day.
Tisch, a former U.S. postmaster general and the chairman and director of the Loews Corp., purchased 50 percent of the Giants from the Mara family in 1991. Wellington Mara, the club's other co-owner, died last month but his ownership stake was passed on to his family.
Saints' Future Discussed At Owners' Meeting
NFL team owners discussed the future of the New Orleans Saints as they opened a two-day meeting Tuesday in Kansas City, Mo.
According to the Associated Press, Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said the league might release the Saints' schedule for next season before it releases other clubs' schedules next spring. The league is focusing on attempting to have the Saints play their home games in Louisiana next season, perhaps with some games in Baton Rouge and others in New Orleans once the Superdome is repaired. The team could play in San Antonio if arrangements cannot be worked out in Louisiana. Tagliabue reportedly also indicated he is working with the NFL Players Association on possibly implementing special measures that might help to make the Saints more competitive next season.
The Saints have been based in San Antonio this season since being displaced from New Orleans in August by Hurricane Katrina. They're splitting their home games between San Antonio and Baton Rouge.
Tagliabue has said the league would like to return the franchise to New Orleans in the future. NFL sources have said that the team eventually could be moved to Los Angeles if New Orleans cannot rebuild sufficiently to support the club.
Houston Texans owner Bob McNair said, according to the AP: "Just from a sense of fairness, you don't kick people when they're down. You give them a reasonable period of time to recover. We don't know what New Orleans is going to look like. It might be an entirely different city. They might have more-than-adequate support. That's something that might have to be determined at a later point in time."
The eight-owner panel appointed by Tagliabue to be his New Orleans advisory committee met Tuesday, although several of the members were unable to attend.
Benson told reporters that the team is not for sale. Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw, a Louisiana native, said recently that he was attempting to assemble a group of investors to try to buy the club and keep it in the state.
Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger did some throwing Tuesday, but still will have to prove himself to Coach Bill Cowher on the practice field this week if he's going to be allowed to return to the Steelers' lineup for Sunday's game at Baltimore.
Roethlisberger has missed the team's past two games, both victories, after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery. Charlie Batch started both of those games but now is sidelined by a broken hand, leaving Tommy Maddox in line to start against the Ravens if Roethlisberger is not ready. . . .
Buffalo Bills Coach Mike Mularkey must make a decision later this week about whether to make second-year quarterback J.P. Losman his starter for Sunday's game at San Diego. Losman opened the season as the Bills' starter but struggled and was benched in favor of veteran Kelly Holcomb. Holcomb provided a temporary lift, but then his play leveled off and he was knocked from last Sunday's game against Kansas City by a blow to the head. Losman took over and directed a 14-3 triumph over the Chiefs, throwing two touchdown passes. . . .
Ken Dorsey could be healthy enough to regain San Francisco's starting-quarterback job from Cody Pickett this week, with prized rookie Alex Smith likely to remain shelved by a knee injury. Pickett completed only one of 13 passes in last Sunday's loss at Chicago. He has made two starts since Dorsey hurt his ankle after Smith hurt his knee. . . .
Gus Frerotte's swollen right index finger could force a starting-quarterback switch in Miami this week. Frerotte hurt the finger during Sunday's loss to New England when he hit his throwing hand on the helmet of a Patriots defender while completing his throwing motion. Sage Rosenfels would take for Sunday's game at Cleveland over if Frerotte is sidelined. . . .
Patriots wide receiver Troy Brown was back to playing defensive back during the Miami game. It was Brown's first appearance of this season on defense after being pressed into regular duty at cornerback last season. . . .
New England lost starting center Dan Koppen to a season-ending separated shoulder and cornerback Randall Gay to a season-ending high ankle sprain. Both were placed on the injured reserve list Tuesday. . . .
The Indianapolis Colts don't know if they'll have safety Bob Sanders in the lineup for Sunday's game at Cincinnati. Sanders suffered a knee injury during last weekend's triumph over the Houston Texans, which improved the Colts' record to 9-0, but an MRI exam showed no significant ligament damage. Sanders is a key member of the greatly improved Indianapolis defense, and the Colts could use him against Cincinnati quarterback Carson Palmer and the Bengals' accomplished receivers. . . .
Minnesota quarterback Daunte Culpepper underwent surgery Tuesday to repair the torn knee ligaments that ended his season. Orthopedist James Andrews performed the procedure in Birmingham.