Shanahan counters McNabb on benching

BY foxsports • December 23, 2010

Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan said Wednesday that he would welcome Donovan McNabb back next season as the backup quarterback, The Washington Post reported.

After being benched last week in favor of Rex Grossman, McNabb said Tuesday on his weekly radio show that he would be interested in returning to the Redskins next season.

But Shanahan told reporters Wednesday that the 34-year-old would not be back next year as the starting quarterback, and that he understands McNabb probably is not interested in being a No. 2.

“I’m not sure he would, which I would understand,” Shanahan said. “But I think that’s why we’re talking about hypothetical situations. I don’t think that would happen. But if he was interested in that, obviously, that’d be a possibility.”

Shanahan also strongly disagreed with McNabb's version of events surrounding his demotion, which came last Thursday.

McNabb said on his radio show he was disappointed that Shanahan did not tell him that he would be benched until Thursday and claimed that he learned other details about the plan from the media.

Shanahan said the first people he told about the move were McNabb and Grossman on Thursday, and any other media reports before that were based on speculation.

McNabb said Shanahan also did not tell him directly that he would be the team's third-string quarterback in the season's final two games, with John Beck serving as Grossman's backup.

Shanahan disagreed saying, "I did talk to Donovan [about] exactly what his role was gonna be, just like I shared with [reporters]. That he was gonna be No. 2 [against Dallas], and then the next two games he was gonna be No. 3 and I explained why.

"I went into detail about why I was playing John in the last two games, why he was going to be No. 2, and why he [McNabb] was going to be No. 2 [against Dallas]. I'm not sure how that got misinterpreted."

Prior to his demotion, McNabb was enduring the worst season of his career, with a 77.1 passer rating and a career-high 15 interceptions. He was also benched by Shanahan late in a loss at Detroit on Oct. 31, with Shanahan saying later that Grossman had a better understanding of the team's two-minute offense.

The six-time Pro Bowler was traded in the offseason from the Philadelphia Eagles, where he spent 11 seasons and made one Super Bowl appearance.

The Redskins signed McNabb to a contract extension on Nov. 15, but the deal only guaranteed $3.5 million through the end of this season.

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