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The rejuvenation of Donovan McNabb

re•ju•ve•nate
1. To restore to youthful vigor or appearance; make young again.
2. To restore to an original or new condition.


***Definition courtesy of The Free Dictionary.***

It’s hard watching your sports heroes get old. From the time you can remember, they are partially responsible for developing your love for the game, cultivating it, sustaining it, as well as being the reason for countless memories. You defend them to the grave. You rationalize just about everything they’ve done and/or haven’t done.

You do this because you, as a fan, realize how they make you feel and how much they contribute to this life of sports. You do this proudly, with no shame, and when people kick them when they’re down, you go even harder for them. No more evident is the case in the past 12 months with ETSF legend, and favorite football player of all-time, Donovan McNabb.

For the past 12 months, Ed and I have gone to bat for McNabb for countless reasons; some comical, and others being serious in tone. When Kevin Kolb went down and the Eagles went to Vick, it was dubbed as the ghost of Donovan McNabb’s past returning to wreak havoc on the city of brotherly love (for the record, I believed it when I wrote, and to this day, I still believe it.) When McNabb got that random contract extension from the Redskins in the middle of last season, one that anybody could see was a farce, Ed voiced his concerns loud and clear.

There are other times, over the years, where we have both used this platform to preach the Donovan McNabb Gospel. Rain or shine, one can count on the book of McNabb being written here. However, others have rushed like wolves to pounce on the man, especially after last season.

It seems that people are letting one disastrous season in Washington cloud their judgment of McNabb, and in a time where people are in a rush to forget about the good someone has done over time, and instead harp on the bad they’ve done lately, leave it to this site to tell the world that this year, this upcoming 2011 NFL season, will be the rejuvenation of Donovan McNabb.

See, one thing that is painfully evident about athletes is they want to feel wanted. They want to feel appreciated. It may seem corny, especially when people restrict their method of thinking to saying “Well, athletes make all that money. They should feel appreciated enough just for that.” However, it’s not that simplistic. As with plenty of endeavors in life, athletes are no different than the average person who carries their behinds to work and wants to feel appreciated for their craft.

When you’re in a place that you can tell you’re not appreciated, it can affect the way you perform. That can be in a positive or a negative way, but since I promised Lizz I would not talk bad about the Redskins for a while, I will not say in which way the lack of appreciation for Donovan contributed to his performance last year.

Now please don't get it twisted. By no means am I absolving McNabb of all responsibility for his lone season in Washington. His play was a disgrace last year, but it shouldn’t cloud the fact that he’s been a terrific quarterback for the majority of his career, and that hell, the whole team was bad. However, the treatment of him was harsh all year long from fans, the media, as well as his incompetent and bum-ass coaching staff (okay, I took one shot, but I think even Lizz, as well as other 'Skins fan, will say it’s warranted.)

This season, though, the scenario is totally different. It’s obvious that Big Leslie Frazier wanted McNabb in Minnesota pretty bad. Don’t get me wrong; the team drafted Christian Ponder, and it’s safe to say the young man will eventually get on the field, but with a team full of veterans, would they rather roll out on the field with a youngster who’s never played a down or with a grown man with skins on the wall, plenty left in his tank, and with a chip on his shoulder?

Support from coaches, veteran teammates, and a new-found motivation will only contribute to the revitalization of Donovan McNabb this season. What kills me is it seems like people are in a hurry to bury this man. It’s as if folks can’t wait to say he’s washed up, over the hill, past his prime, whatever. Maybe folks want to be the ones who can say they saw it coming from miles away, like they’re some kind of prophets or something.

However, I’m not willing to do that. This team was just in the NFC Championship two years ago, and while they lost some key pieces, there’s still more than enough there to be a formidable team, and if the cards fall right, you never know how the season can turn out.

Simply put, I refuse to throw dirt on the man’s grave. It’s too soon, and there are too many examples of quarterbacks in their mid-to-late-30s who performed on a high level and helped their teams reach record heights (ex. Randall Cunningham in 1998), as well as win the Super Bowl (ex. John Elway in the same year, as well as the following year.) For that, along with the other reasons listed above, there’s no shame in my game on rolling the dice on the Vikings to do work this year, and it’ll be done by the leadership of a motivated McNabb.

Be easy.
-K. Masenda
www.edthesportsfan.com

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