The Eagles will retire Donovan McNabb’s No. 5 in a pregame ceremony on Sept. 19 at Lincoln Financial Field. Let those words stir around the brain for a bit.
The announcement was delivered by team owner Jeffrey Lurie Monday in front of a packed auditorium inside the Eagles’ practice facility. The news wasn’t shocking, but it did raise a few eyebrows among the masses. McNabb is the best quarterback in franchise history. That fact isn’t debatable.
However, his icy relationship with the fans certainly didn’t make the decision a no-brainer. In the end, Lurie went with his heart. The owner admitted that he had tears in his eyes the day the Eagles traded McNabb to Washington. He called McNabb a “franchise-changer” and credited him for the glorious run of success the Eagles enjoyed in the 2000s.
“Donovan McNabb was a franchise-changing quarterback for the Eagles and helped raise the bar of success for this franchise during his 11-year tenure with the team,” Lurie said. “Donovan was the face and the focal point of so many of our great Eagles teams and he helped make this franchise a contender each and every year that he was here.”
McNabb became engulfed with emotion, something that he seemed to hide during his time here, when he took the podium. Former teammates Brian Westbrook and Brian Dawkins introduced him with stirring tributes and long embraces. They praised his leadership on the field, as well as his friendship off it.
“I’m not one for emotion, but this is pretty tough,” McNabb said.