About 300 people had a chance to see what all the offseason buzz was about in one of Donovan McNabb’s first public appearances in Washington. The former Philadelphia Eagle quarterback signed copies of NFL Dads Dedicated to Daughters, a book describing players’ relationships with their daughters at Borders on 18th and L streets, Northwest. McNabb wrote a short essay in the book speaking out against violence toward women. He’s been praised by the press and his teammates because of his strong work ethic, something he talked about with the media before the signing began.
McNabb, 33, said many people in Philadelphia wrote him off because of his age, but he said 40-year-old Brett Favre’s success proves you don’t have to be young to play well. “I’m not that old,” he said. “I’m out there everyday practicing. The other players see the attitude you’re coming in with. They see you on the field and in the weight room. I want people to understand we’re doing all we can.”
The arrival of McNabb has raised expectations for the team, which is coming off a disappointing 4-12 season. One longtime Redskins fan, Tyler Green of Alexandria, said he canceled his season tickets just a week before the trade was done. “We were getting tired of going to so many games, and we endured two seasons of losing,” he said. He added that McNabb has brought some of his excitement back, and he may have kept his tickets if he’d known the team would acquire the six-time-Pro-Bowl quarterback.
Rael Jon, an Eagles fan dressed in a Philadelphia McNabb jersey, said Washington fans are in for a treat with McNabb, and he’s lamenting Philadelphia’s loss. “I’ve been a fan of his since 1999, have been following him my whole career,” he said. “He’s done a lot of things for the city of Philadelphia—helped us win. He’s gonna be tough to play against. Even though he’s a Redskin, I gotta cheer for him.”
Many skipped out from work just to get a chance to see McNabb. When one fan saw TV news cameras filming him, he said, “I’m supposed to be in the office. I hope they don’t see me on the news.” DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Union, also has an essay in the book. When a Borders employee told Smith he hadn’t seen a crowd this rowdy since Aretha Franklin signed her book a few years ago, Smith joked with McNabb: “You’re bigger than Aretha, Donovan!” McNabb said he was just happy to be there and would hopefully make more public appearances soon. “I really enjoy this,” he said. “That’s why I’m here.”