Fletcher Smith, Mike Shanahan share barbs
The Donovan McNabb era isn’t going to end in Washington without some more fireworks.
A situation that has painfully and obviously lacked communication is growing ugly in public, and the fire was stoked Thursday when Fletcher Smith, McNabb’s agent, released a statement suggesting offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is behind much of the problems.
“While Donovan's feelings about Washington remain the same, the Shanahans - both Mike and more specifically Kyle - have made this an extremely difficult relationship to maintain," Smith said in his statement. "Their comments have been beyond disrespectful and unprecedented for a six-time Pro Bowl quarterback such as Donovan.
"I believe there is tension between Donovan and Kyle that's rooted in the fact that Donovan has suggested modifications to Kyle's offense," Smith said.
McNabb has reportedly suggested the Redskins use more screen passes with an eye toward slowing the pass rush. Smith points out they did just that this past week vs. the Dallas Cowboys. McNabb’s final drive as a Redskin was probably the touchdown he helped engineer that would have forced overtime with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 14 until the extra point was botched.
“Kyle was quoted as saying 'He'll (McNabb) never take another snap for me again,' " Smith said.
While McNabb said earlier this week he would like to return to the Redskins, Smith opened up an escape hatch of sorts.
"(McNabb) is determined to continue his relentless commitment to win and looks forward to the opportunity wherever that may be," Smith said.
Mike Shanahan responded this afternoon with his own statement, and at least it expressed a desire to open the channels of communication.
“As I stated earlier, when I traded for Donovan McNabb I had hoped that he would lead us to the playoffs. No one wanted him to be more successful than me,” Mike Shanahan said. “When the team was 5-8 and mathematically out of the playoffs, I made the decision to evaluate our other two quarterbacks. This was not personal, but strictly professional. The decision was made in the best interest of the Washington Redskins and I stand by my decision. I will attempt to talk to Fletcher Smith directly to clear up every one of his misconceptions.”
The bottom line is this has become an untenable situation. The Redskins need to release McNabb early in the offseason and move on while allowing him to do the same thing.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune