By Tim Baffoe-
(CBS) I never thought I would say it, but I do not want Donovan McNabb, who is expected to clear waivers and be officially released by the Minnesota Vikings around 3pm Friday, in a Chicago Bears uniform. Unless he is on his couch eating soup.
McNabb was a sports idol of mine for most of his football career because, see, he and I are alums of the same high school, with him six years my senior. Most students at all-boys Catholic schools tend to be fascinated with famous alumni. Hell, McNabb was the only reason as a teenager that I would ever watch a Syracuse football game.
Now I’m grown up (sort of), and years of Chicago sports fandom have jaded me into a pragmatist for the most part. As much as I admire McNabb the man, I also understand that the guy just cannot play football anymore at a productive level.
Thirty-five. Thirty damn five. That is ancient in the NFL. That is time-to-be-quarterbacks-coach age. That is the shelf life of vacuum-sealed microwavable New England clam chowder. That is Donovan McNabb’s age.
And the thirty-five-year-old McNabb, remember, was sacked five times by the Bears in Week 6, and that was not even in a full game’s work, as Christian Ponder finished that game for the Vikings. In his previous seven games against his hometown team, McNabb had been sacked just a combined 17 times.
He used to be known as a quarterback blessed with a combination of a big body that was difficult to bring down and agility, capable of avoiding and getting out of sacks. The body is still big—bigger, actually, sadly. The agility is all but a memory.
And that arm. Oh, that arm.
In the six games McNabb started this season, he averaged 171 yards passing per game. The Vikings certainly did not do him any favors by also sucking massively overall, but anyone not drunk on hearty beef with country vegetables could see that accuracy and velocity are no longer his friends.
Is he better than Josh McCown? I say a bad meal is better than no meal at all, and McNabb’s soup bowl has run dry. At least McCown can be reheated in an emergency and perhaps tide the team over for a bit in the unlikely chance he would be called upon (remember that Nathan Enderle is currently second-string on the Bears depth chart).
As far as the home-cooked aspect of McNabb being from Chicago and how that would be a great fit and his parents would love it, spare me. I appreciate a hometown guy playing well for his native team, don’t get me wrong. But for every Derrick Rose there is a Todd Hundley, for every Tom Thayer a Rob Mackowiak. McNabb being from Chicago makes for good narrative, but not for good football.
Locker room presence. Veteran leadership. Fantastic facial hair. All these purr words are used by people who like to believe that winning football games is about more than just coaching, talent, and execution.
McNabb as a Bear would make no player better… well, maybe on the opposition, if by some chance he got in the game. Bringing in dinosaurs does not boost morale or ignite some sort of spark in a professional. These are grown men. If they need the presence of a formerly-good player in the locker room on the sidelines, then they are also probably inspired by watching We Are Marshall or Wildcats before a game. I doubt that’s the case with what seems to be a mentally-stable group of players on the Bears.
Caleb Hanie does not need him around, not for McNabb’s “leadership” or the whispers of “when will McNabb start” that would come with the package.
Donovan McNabb is a fantastic guy. Funny, charming, intelligent, and kind. He is also now the quarterback equivalent of canned sirloin burger that only exists but for the grace of artificial preservatives, and the Bears would be wise to not try to dip their ladle to see if they can get one last chunk from the bottom of the pot.
Tim Baffoe attended the University of Iowa and Governors State University and began blogging at The Score after winning the 2011 Pepsi Max Score Search. He enjoys writing things about stuff, but not so much stuff about things. When not writing for 670TheScore.com, Tim corrupts America’s youth as a high school English teacher and provides a great service to his South Side community delivering pizzas (please tip him and his colleagues well). You can follow Tim’s inappropriate brain droppings on Twitter @Ten_Foot_Midget , but please don’t follow him in real life. He grew up in Chicago’s Beverly To read more of Tim’s blogs click here.