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McNabb: “I support and back my agent.”
Demoted quarterback Donovan McNabb today supported his agent’s recent statement blaming offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan for his falling out with the Washington Redskins, but McNabb insisted he will not ask the team to release him after the season ends on Sunday.
McNabb spoke publicly this afternoon for the first time since his agent, Fletcher Smith III, released a statement criticizing head coach Mike Shanahan and son Kyle for their treatment of McNabb in the trio’s first season with the club. McNabb expressed a desire to return to the Redskins next season but not under the current circumstances.
“Things would obviously have to change, relationships have to be better, conversations have to be better,” he said on his weekly radio show. “But that’s something you do over time.”
McNabb spoke on ESPN980-AM, the team’s flagship station that is owned by Redskins owner Daniel Snyder. McNabb has declined all reporters’ requests for interviews since he was benched on Dec. 17, but he has since twice fulfilled his contractual obligation to go on the air.
Smith’s statement, released on Dec. 23, strongly implied that Kyle Shanahan was responsible for leaking negative reviews of McNabb’s intelligence and physical conditioning to national media. It also accused Kyle of stonewalling McNabb’s request to modify the offense to include more screen passes and waiting to make those changes until backup Rex Grossman took over two games ago.
During a line of questioning that seemed quite tense at times, McNabb delineated between Smith’s independent assertions and his support for them. He said he has discussed his plight with his agent, but he downplayed the notion that Smith was serving as his mouthpiece.
“I guess as you read in the [statement], he put his thoughts into the whole deal, not Donovan’s thoughts,” McNabb said. “I support and back my agent. We’ve worked together for years and we’re going to continue to work together.”
McNabb confirmed that he met in person with Kyle last week to discuss Smith’s statement, but he did not disclose details of the conversation.
“We’re both on the same page,” McNabb said. “We were both able to iron some things out and put some things on the table, and I think we have a good relationship.”
Of course, with the regular season ending after Sunday’s home game against the New York Giants, Kyle and McNabb might have to co-exist for only a few more days.
McNabb said his agent will meet with Mike Shanahan shortly after the season ends to discuss McNabb’s status. Shanahan said Monday that he has extended to Smith an invitation to meet in the D.C. area.
McNabb said he will not ask to be released, but he did not say whether Smith might do that for him. He said his future with the club will be determined by “the ones that are evaluating,” meaning the Shanahans.
He insisted he wants to return.
“I think what we have here with the guys, I think we can do some good things with,” McNabb said.
The five-year contract extension McNabb signed in November gives the Redskins flexibility to wait until the start of the 2011 regular season to exercise his $10 million option bonus and effectively decide whether to bring him back, according to a league source familiar with the details of the contract.
Although that seems unlikely given recent events, the Redskins could squat on McNabb’s rights with hopes of finding a trade partner instead of releasing him and receiving no compensation in return.
McNabb said he’d prefer a quick resolution.
“Teams can do what they want,” he said. “That kind of wouldn’t be in a professional manner, I wouldn’t think. But we’ll see what happens. There will be communication from different parties and we’ll find out what we can do.”