There's been some mild bristling of recent over comments made by Cowboys' linebacker Keith Brooking concerning quarterback Donovan McNabb, who was traded on Sunday from Philadelphia, where he played for 12 years, to Washington. The remarks came in an interview with ESPN Radio 103.3 on Monday, in response to a question about the trade:
"The way we dominated them, obviously McNabb didn’t play his best, but they were very predictable," Brooking said, per ESPN. "We knew exactly what was coming on every play. A lot of that didn’t have to do with Donovan McNabb."
"Sometimes the old thing about you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone … I promise you," said Brooking. "Now, that [Kevin] Kolb kid may end up winning three or four Super Bowls for that city. I can’t predict that. But Donovan McNabb, his body of work and what he’s done for that franchise, there's not a lot of guys who come into this league who have played as long as he has and can say they’ve accomplished what he’s accomplished."
Okay, the comments come off as a bit incendiary--bulletin board material, perhaps. But really, is Brooking saying anything new?
There is no shortage of fans (and writers) in Philadelphia who might say the very same thing; now, this might not stop them from taking issue when Brooking--a Dallas Cowboy--says it, but the fact remains: Brooking is only echoing an opinion that's been stated and restated ad nauseum in the months following Philadelphia's season-ending loss at Cowboys Stadium in January.
Brooking sounds more like a man with tremendous respect for McNabb than a man with out for a cheap shot on Philly, and in this regard, too, he has plenty of company, including Dan Marino, Brian Westbrook and a litany of writers based in Philadelphia.
“I think Kevin Kolb will be a very fine quarterback in the NFL," said Westbrook, weeks ago. "I do not have any problem saying that. He will be a great quarterback in the NFL. But if I was a team trying to win a Super Bowl, I would be hard-pressed to get rid of Donovan McNabb. ... It’s hard for me to say you can find a quarterback that’s going to lead and put the players in a position and help the team win like Donovan McNabb.”
Westbrook's remarks are strikingly similar to those of Brooking. The only difference--and it's an important difference in the NFL, and particularly in a rivalry--is the blue star Brooking dons on his helmet each Sunday. And this difference, it seems, is the difference between the statement of a commonly shared opinion, and so-called bulletin board material.