On September 19, the Eagles will retire the number worn by quarterback Donovan McNabb. Coaching Philly’s opponent that night will be the man who selected McNabb with the second pick in the 1999 draft, coach Andy Reid.
Reid, who now coaches the Chiefs, told Thursday’s Pro Football Talk on NBCSN that McNabb deserves a somewhat higher honor: Placement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“Well, listen, I’m partial, I think he is,” Reid said regarding whether McNabb is worthy of Canton. “Just look at his numbers. I think the things he did were phenomenal, how he handled the whole city of Philadelphia and how he handled the football team, he just did it with class.
“He’s tougher than shoe leather. I used to joke that he’s wired like a linebacker. He played the position that way and he brought something completely new to the West Coast offense with his sheer athletic ability. Steve Young took it to a new level from where Joe Montana was and added a dimension, and then Donovan even added another dimension to it, so I have nothing but the highest regards for Donovan and the things that he did. The sky was the limit for him and he went up and touched it. He just did great things, and his teammates most of all believed in him and followed him.”
The absence of a Super Bowl win could make it harder for McNabb to get in, especially when he is first eligible in 2017. But McNabb ultimately will get consideration; whether he gets in will depend on whether enough of the voters agree with Reid’s assessment.