O'Halloran: McNabb's agent on the offensive

O'Halloran: McNabb's agent on the offensive
December 23, 2010, 8:30 pm
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Thursday, December 23, 2010, 5:57 p.m. UPDATED 9:04 p.m.

By Ryan OHalloran
Staff writer


Since his benching last week, the relationship between Donovan McNabb and the Redskins seemed irreparable. Too many leaks. Too many interceptions. And too many losses.

Things got worse Thursday.

While McNabb has remained quiet aside from interviews on his radio and television shows earlier this week, his agent, Fletcher Smith, unloaded on Mike and Kyle Shanahan in a 525-word statement.

Smith said the Shanahans have made this an extremely difficult relationship to maintain. Their comments have been beyond disrespectful and unprecedented for a six-time Pro Bowl quarterback such as Donovan.

About four hours after Smith's statement was released, the Redskins countered with a statement from Mike Shanahan.

"When the team was 5-8 and mathematically out of the playoffs, I made the decision to evaluate our other two quarterbacks," said Shanahan in the single-paragraph statement. "This was not personal, but strictly professional. The decision was made in the best interest of the Washington Redskins and I stand by my decision."

Shanahan also said in the statement that he would attempt to talk to Smith directly in order to "clear up every one of his misconceptions".

McNabb has expressed frustration with the number of leaks to national media outlets that have been critical of his play and comfort level in Kyle Shanahans system.

There have been reports leaked of Donovan not being in shape and not being able to grasp Kyles offense, Smith said. Unfortunately it appears as though the Redskins coaching staff decided that their 12-year veteran quarterback, who flawlessly executed one of the NFLs most complex offense in Philadelphia, is unable to grasp Kyles offense

McNabb was in one system for 11 years with the Philadelphia Eagles and the Redskins system features different terminology. He was benched after a 5-8 start in which he had already thrown a career-high 15 interceptions.

Smiths statement said friction between McNabb and Kyle Shanahan developed after McNabb made suggestions about the offense, based on intricacies Donovan has learned in his NFL career. For example, Donovan has asked all year that the team run more screen passes to help manage the pass rush more effectively. Ironically, Kyle decided to employ Donovans suggestions after he unceremoniously benched him on Sunday.

Rex Grossman passed for 322 yards and tied a career high with four touchdowns in last weeks loss at Dallas. Thirteen of his pass attempts (not counting a late-game spike) did not cross the line of scrimmage. Grossman was still sacked five times.

McNabb lost his job after he finished the Tampa Bay game with what Kyle Shanahan called one of the best offensive drives of the year.

But Smiths statement said Shanahan remarked afterward that McNabb will never take another snap for me again.

Smith said McNabb and his family truly enjoy living in the Washington, D.C., area and are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support the fans have shown him this year. He stated that he wishes to stay in Washington because he came to complete a task and that task has not yet been accomplished.

Even before Smiths statement, it was unlikely McNabb would have returned to the Redskins because of his 2011 salary (more than 15 million) Mike Shanahan even said Wednesday he would be surprised if McNabb wanted to return in a back-up role.

After Smith did the dirty work for his long-time client, an already tense situation surely has bubbled over.

Donovan has maintained a high level of professionalism on and off the field, Smith said. He is determined to continue his relentless commitment to win and looks forward to the opportunity wherever that may be!

Contact Ryan at rohalloran@comcastsportsnet.com