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Donovan McNabb retires as an Eagle

Six-time Pro Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb, left, and

Six-time Pro Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb, left, and Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie embrace following a news conference in Philadelphia, on Monday July 29, 2013, announcing that McNabb will officially retire a member of the Eagles. McNabb played 11 of his 13 seasons with the Eagles, leading them to eight playoff appearances, five NFC East titles, five conference championship games and one Super Bowl loss. (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek) (Credit: AP Photo Joseph Kaczmarek)

Donovan McNabb, the greatest quarterback in Eagles history and only the second quarterback to get Philly to a Super Bowl, will have his number retired by the team at a ceremony on Sept. 19.

“Special day, special day,” McNabb said on Monday at a press conference announcing the event. “I'm not one for emotion, but this is pretty tough, pretty tough ... To be mentioned with the likes of Reggie White, Jerome Brown, Chuck Bednarik, Tommy McDonald, Brian Dawkins, and all the other players who have paved the way for me and for my former teammates and current players.  It's truly an honor, not only to be the first pick of the [Eagles’] draft in 1999, but to be your starter for 11 years.  But most importantly, to be inducted into the Ring of Honor and to have my number retired.

“As a young man, having dreams of becoming a professional athlete, never would I have thought this day would come true,” he said. “Watching the likes of Michael Jordan and Walter Payton flourish in their given sports, I tried to model myself with the same preparation.  Motivation, determination, most importantly, the results on the field as well. But most importantly to me in my heart off the field. In order to become a champion and to go down as one of the best to ever do it, it would take more than expected, and I would never allow myself or allow anyone to tell me what I could and could not accomplish.”

McNabb thanked his teammates who helped him carve out one of the finest careers in franchise history.

“I had the opportunity to play with some great players in my time here.  Not only were they great athletes, but they were wonderful human beings,” he said. “From the battles and team drills, to the trash talking and one‑on‑ones, to the arguing in seven-on-seven, I felt like it made us closer as a unit and also as a team. If there was any jealousy, dislike, disagreements, whatever we'd feel, we'd form like Voltron when the time was called.”

McNabb was often criticized for not getting the Eagles even further – the closest he got was a Super Bowl loss to the Patriots after the 2004 season – but he holds nothing against his critics.

“As a quarterback, you get criticized no matter what you do anyway,” he said. “If you win, you didn't throw enough completions. If you lose, it's your fault.  That is what you take on.  That is the job you take, and I loved every bit of it.  It never bothered me if I got criticized.  It never affected anything that I did out on the field. One thing that I tried to display to my teammates was that it didn't affect me.  I was going to continue to work hard, no matter if we won or lost ... I look at the relationship just like a marriage.  You have some great times, you have some tough times.  Hey, one thing is for sure and I've said it before and I'll say it again, I told the fans that I would bring a championship here.  My goal was to have that parade down Broad Street.  Now the Phillies did it first, and I apologized to the fans because that was my goal.  I felt like I let them down.”

Tags: Donovan McNabb , Philadelphia Eagles , NFL

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