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Stunner in D.C.: McNabb benched

In a word: wow. 

In another word: whoa. 

A little more than a month after signing Donovan McNabb to a five-year, $78.5 million contract extension, Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan has benched the veteran in favor of Rex Grossman, according to multiple reports. 

Shanahan confirmed the move with reporters, and acknowledged that McNabb's time in Washington is likely done when he admitted he made no guarantees to the quarterback about 2011. 

McNabb won't even be Grossman's primary backup; he'll serve as the No. 3 quarterback behind John Beck. 

"Since we're mathematically eliminated [from the playoffs], I've got to see the other two guys," Shanahan said. 

McNabb's agent, Fletcher Smith, told ESPN that the Redskins' decision is "disrespectful to Donovan. He has not been more disrespected his whole career than he has this season. It's absolutely ridiculous."

McNabb was benched in the final minutes of a loss to the Lions earlier this season, but signed the contract extension less than two weeks later. While the total value of the deal approaches $80 million, only $3.5 was guaranteed as a signing bonus.

McNabb has started all 13 games this season, throwing for 3,377 yards, 14 touchdowns and 15 interceptions for a rating of 77.1. Shanahan was asked on a conference call yesterday if McNabb would start against the Cowboys on Sunday, and he replied, "You want to go through our whole lineup, or do you want me to go through each position, or do you just want to start with the quarterback?"

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said yesterday the team would prepare as if McNabb would start, but those plans will now likely change. 

"He's been their quarterback, and if Rex Grossman does get an opportunity to play, we'll certainly respond and react to that," Garrett said. "Both guys are established. Donovan McNabb is a special player and has been for a long time. He can beat you in so many ways. He's been their starter, so I think you prepare for him."

Grossman hasn't started a game since 2008, and has thrown only seven passes this season. He was a backup with the Texans last year, working under offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, who is now working as Mike Shanahan's offensive coordinator.

New York Sports