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McNabb: I would have gone to Oakland

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Washington Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb refuted stories with unnamed sources which reported he would retire rather than play for the Raiders.

Talking with host Ryen Rusillo on the Scott VanPelt Show (ESPN Radio), McNabb was asked what he would have done had he been traded to the Raiders.

“I would have been at the workouts and working out with the team, throwing and trying to get the timing down with the corps of receivers and running backs they have and communicated with the offensive line to get ready for minicamp,” McNabb said.

When Rusillo asked about the threat to retire, McNabb at first laughed out loud.

“Retirement?,” he said.

McNabb went on to elaborate.

“This is the problem with some of these so-called key analysts and these smart guys out there who go by `sources.’ So many people listen to different sources `close to’ the individual, but never the individual, saying that I would have not showed up in Oakland, I would have been upset . . . hey, with my name always being in the media all the time because of trade talk, I’m just happy that it’s over. I don’t mind being on ESPN if it’s something positive for my play, not for where I’m going to land next. A lot of it was blown way out of proportion.”

Of course, having McNabb refuse to play for the Raiders is a much more interesting story than what is the more likely reality _ that Oakland simply is not getting older as a team but working at getting younger, and McNabb was never an option because of that philosophy.

Think about it.

Jeff Garcia and Lorenzo Neal never made it out of training camp last year. Greg Ellis was waived this offseason. Justin Fargas, a 30-year-old back in a 35-year-old body is gone. There was no effort made to talk with the likes of LaDainian Tomlinson and Terrell Owens, the types of Hall of Fame candidates the Raiders have looked to in years past.

The club has not come to a longterm deal with defensive end Richard Seymour, perhaps waiting to see if he’s started on the downside of his career but franchising him to hedge their bets.

If the Raiders really wanted McNabb, they would have made a serious offer and landed him. I’m not sure I buy the story that the magnanimous Eagles “did the right thing” by trading him to the Redskins even though McNabb remained in the division.

And last time I checked, although the Redskins direction is more promising with Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen running things instead of Daniel Snyder, they were 4-12 last year. One game worse than the team that McNabb supposedly wouldn’t consider.

The reason the Eagles made the trade is because they’re comfortable with seeing McNabb twice a year. And because the Raiders are floated more often as a trade possibility than any other team because they never deny it, and occasionally are punching bags because of it.

You’d think this would close the book on the McNabb-to-Raiders story, but don’t count on it. It will be commonly accepted that McNabb refused to come to Oakland, regardless of what he or anyone else says.

It’s just one of those things the Raiders will have to endure until they change the storyline and start winning.

(Was out all morning taping a draft special for Comcast . . . thanks to the reader who told me about the interview).

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer