A week ago, the Raiders reportedly were the frontrunners to land quarterback Donovan McNabb. After he unexpectedly landed in Washington, reports emerged (both from Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports and Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer) that McNabb made it clear that he didn’t want to go to Oakland. Cole reported that McNabb threatened to retire.
Not so, McNabb now says.
Asked by Ryen Rusillo on ESPN Radio’s The Scott VanPelt Show what McNabb would have done if shipped to the East side of the Bay, the eleven-year veteran had this to say, per Jerry McDonald of InsideBayArea.com: “I would have been at the workouts and working out with the team,
throwing and trying to get the timing down with the corps of receivers
and running backs they have and communicated with the offensive line to
get ready for minicamp.”
McNabb then laughed about his threat to retire if traded to the Raiders.
“This is the problem with some of these so-called key analysts and these
smart guys out there who go by ‘sources,'” McNabb said. “So many people listen to
different sources ‘close to’ the individual, but never the individual,
saying that I would have not showed up in Oakland, I would have been
But, you see, McNabb’s explanation confirms the value of leaks from sources “close to” the subject of the news. Sources “close to” McNabb can get a certain message out to the media, and McNabb then retains plausible deniability, since he was never the source.
Besides, with McNabb saying nothing, those “key analysts and smart guys” had to look somewhere for information. But McNabb is basically saying that Cole and McLane flat-out made up their stories.
McNabb knows how to work the media — one of the things he has most in common with his former head coach in Philly. Regardless of whether McNabb never would have gone to Oakland, he never will admit it now. Really, what does he have to gain from that approach? There could be a day when he wants to continue to play pro football and no one but the Raiders wants him. Thus, there’s no reason to engage in a public bridge burning.
We’re not saying we don’t believe McNabb. We’re only saying that we don’t expect him to say anything other than what he said, regardless of whether he had no real desire to play for the Raiders — or whether he was simply hoping to steer the trade toward a team like the Redskins.