When Donovan McNabb made his first appearance at Lincoln Financial Field as a member of an opposing team, Eagles fans didn’t boo him. When he makes his first appearance there as a member of no team, Eagles fans may boo him.
Especially since McNabb has essentially invited them to boo when he officially retires as a member of the Eagles at halftme of the same September 19 Thursday night game that will welcome former Philly coach Andy Reid back to town, as head coach of the Chiefs.
“I truly wouldn’t care [if they boo],” McNabb tells Paul Domowitch of the Philadelphia Daily News. “To me, it’s an appreciation for the people who truly respected what I did. I’ve always lived by the motto that you can’t please everyone. So, for me, if I get booed, it wouldn’t be anything new. If they cheer, that would be great. Obviously I’ll be out there with my family and the teammates I played with. If there are any boos, I will smile.”
McNabb said that, throughout his career in Philly, he tried to ignore the criticism.
“Flying out here, I stopped in Chicago to visit my family,” McNabb said. “I ran into [former Phillie] Jim Thome in the airport. We were talking about playing in Philly. He asked me how I dealt with it because he said it was really hard for him. I said I just let it run right down my back. I never let it bother me. I told him I loved the game too much to let it affect what I was doing. All the time I put in preparing, I didn’t let it bother me.”
McNabb thinks some fans feel he failed because he wasn’t able to deliver a championship.
“I thought they were true fans who loved the Eagles and loved the game of football,” McNabb said of the folks in Philly. “Opinionated, for sure. But they loved their teams. They just want to see winners. And over the years, we gave them that. But after a while, the wins didn’t become enough. It became all about winning the Super Bowl, which was understandable. That was the same attitude we went in with as players after we won the NFC Championship [in ’04]. We felt we needed to win a Super Bowl. And that didn’t happen.’’
Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly.com had a strong reaction to McNabb’s comments, pointing out that Donovan “has a persecution complex and it’s gotten worse and worse the longer he’s been away from here.”
Frank thinks that McNabb would have been cheered if he’d waited five years to return, and if he had avoided saying things to rile up the fan base.
“He just needs to shut up,” Frank said. “I’m sick of this. . . . Donovan needs to just stop talking.”
It’s unknown whether Donovan will be booed on September 19. But it’s highly unlikely that he’ll heed Frank’s advice.