He sat down with Paul Domowitch for an exclusive interview that will run in the Daily News tomorrow. A few excerpts were released on Philly.com today and, in them, McNabb talked about being booed, the perception that he was an Uncle Tom, and the time Jim Thome allegedly said it was hard playing in Philly. Go:
Q: Any concerns that you might hear some boos when they honor you in September?
A: “I truly wouldn’t care. 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.”
“I’ve always heard that they appreciate you (more) when you’re gone. It’s funny. Flying out here, I stopped in Chicago to visit my family. 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.”
No, obviously, the boos just rolled right off McNabb’s back and he never held a grudge. Obviously. But what’s more interesting – to me, at least – is why Jim Thome felt compelled to tell McNabb that playing in Philly was “really hard” for him. There are few athletes more Ben Revered around here than Thome. Part of me… thinks Donovan put his own Donovan spin on that.
Q: What’s your opinion of Philly fans?
A: “I thought they were true fans who loved the Eagles and loved the game of football. 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.”
It became all about winning the Super Bowl. Yuck. Yes, Former Five, that is understandable. After five NFC Championship game appearances (losing three as the favorite), winning the Super Bowl becomes the next logical step.
Q: You pushed for the Eagles to sign Michael Vick after he got out of prison in ’09. What are your thoughts on him?
A: “I just think right now he’s trying too hard to fit in. it’s like somebody got his ear and tried to tell him this is what Don didn’t do. You’ve got to relate to the fans and the African-Americans in Philadelphia. Because they looked at Don differently. He’s doing too much. And he’s worrying too much. When you start focusing on pleasing people on the outside, it takes away what you’re doing out on the field.”
Trying too hard to fit in can, sometimes, take away what you’re doing on the field. We’ve seen that before. But I doubt someone is in Vick’s ear telling him that he needs to better relate to black people in Philadelphia.