Donovan McNabb's Maturity Revealed by Eagles' Michael Vick Signing

chris baldwinContributor IAugust 14, 2009

RICHMOND, VA - AUGUST 27:  Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick speaks to reporters at the Omni Richmond Hotel after agreeing to a guilty plea on charges stemming from his involvement in a dogfighting ring August 27, 2007, in Richmond, Virginia.  (Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images)

Andy Reid insists he cleared the Michael Vick signing with Donovan McNabb. McNabb contends he lobbied for the Philadelphia Eagles to go bold and add the dog fighter.

Yet people still look at Reid and McNabb the same way as the bitter booing brigades at those town hall meetings regard Obama's health care plan: They're full of scorn, disbelief, and almost unqualified anger...facts be damned.

Plenty of NFL analysts remain certain that Reid and McNabb are telling a Bernie Madoff truth—which isn't much of a truth at all.

Reid must be messing with Donovan again. McNabb must be livid and blindsided.

Only, what if he isn't? What if Reid and McNabb are shooting straight?

That would mean the Philadelphia Eagles finally have the selfless, confident leader they've long needed.

Yes, Donovan McNabb's finally grown up. Forget the conspiracy theories. This is what the Michael Vick signing shows.

McNabb is done being a drama queen. He's moved past all the slights (real and perceived) that have marked his tenure in Philadelphia.

Donovan McNabb is finally ready to win that Super Bowl.

"I pretty much lobbied to get him here," McNabb told the Associated Press after the Eagles’ first preseason game, a contest that became even more meaningless once Vick’s shadow settled over The Linc. "I believe in second chances, and what better place to get a second chance than here with this group of guys. He’s no threat to me, not for (backup Kevin) Kolb.

"We had the opportunity to add another weapon to our offense."

With those words, with his sign-Vick sales pitch, McNabb stepped forward as a leader like he never has before for these Eagles.

McNabb did what he wouldn't do when Terrell Owens clumsily reached out for support from his quarterback during that contract renegotiation demand. McNabb stood up as the bigger man.

It's no longer all about him. For McNabb, it's finally all about winning.

That's what makes the Michael Vick signing the most significant move in the Reid-McNabb era since McNabb walked across that stage to Philly boos on the afternoon he was drafted.

This isn't about Vick's talent or what he can do for the Eagles as a wild card quarterback option for a half-dozen plays a game.

It's not even about how much better off this Super Bowl-scheming team will be if Donovan goes down and the season doesn't depend on bust-in-the-making Kolb.

Those are major pluses. But what takes the Vick signing to another level is what it says about Donovan McNabb.

McNabb is no longer scared (how laughable is it now that he once felt threatened by Kevin Kolb’s drafting?). McNabb is no longer timid. He's done obsessing over every little thing going on around him like a Curb Your Enthusiasm character.

Now, Donovan McNabb is acting like a gunslinger.

It doesn't matter if McNabb did this partly because he always liked Michael Vick, that they hit it off when McNabb showed Vick around Syracuse on a recruiting visit. He still did it.

He still stepped outside himself and stepped up as a leader.

All this fuss over whether McNabb needs to worry about Vick peering over his shoulder, all the debate over whether the Eagles disrespected him with this move, should enrage Philadelphia's clear No. 1 quarterback.

No one thought the New England Patriots were dissing Tom Brady when they looked into adding Vick. That's because Brady is clearly the Pats' unquestioned alpha dog.

The Vick signing shows that Donovan McNabb finally feels that way about himself.

"If I’m playing quarterback for 65 plays and we’ve got 70 plays and (Vick) takes five snaps...I think I can rest for five snaps," McNabb told reporters in Philadelphia.

That's the attitude of a championship quarterback—the confidence that can infuse an entire roster.

He's Tom Brady. Why should Brady worry about Michael Vick?

I’m Donovan McNabb. Why should I worry about Michael Vick?

The Philadelphia Eagles found a bold leader Wednesday night. They finally have their gunslinger.

They also signed Michael Vick, which doesn’t mean half as much.


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