The Washington Redskins sent out marketing materials promoting quarterback Donovan McNabb on the same day the team benched the 12-year veteran for the rest of the season, the Washington Post reported Monday.
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The team mailed promotional letters for season ticket sales that invited fans “to join head coach Mike Shanahan and quarterback Donovan McNabb for the 2011 season."
The concept of the letter was reportedly approved in November, around the time McNabb signed a five-year contract extension, guaranteeing $3.5 million through the end of this season.
But Shanahan announced Friday he would make the switch to quarterback Rex Grossman for the rest of the season, starting with Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Despite McNabb being healthy, Shanahan said he wanted to evaluate the younger quarterback now that the Redskins are out of playoff contention. He would not elaborate on whether McNabb would be in a Washington uniform next season.
"Right now, I gotta do what I think is in the best interest of this organization," Shanahan said. "And that’s to get a good feel of where we’re at at the quarterback position."
McNabb’s agent, Fletcher N. Smith, immediately criticized the Redskins for benching his client.
"Disrespectful is probably not strong enough of a word," Smith told the Post Friday. "Donovan has handled himself with nothing but class, not just in Washington but as an ambassador for the league. To treat him this way … it’s beyond disrespectful."
McNabb is going through the worst season of his career, with a 77.1 passer rating and a career high 15 interceptions.
The move throws into question whether McNabb will be back in Washington for a second season. The six-time Pro Bowl selection was traded in the offseason from Philadelphia, where he spent 11 seasons, and led the Eagles to four consecutive conference championship games and one Super Bowl appearance.
Grossman, 30, has played sparingly since 2006, when he was the Chicago Bears signal caller. Sunday’s 33-30 loss to Dallas was Grossman’s first start since 2008.