Redskins QB battle goes on, even during lockout
WASHINGTON (AP) — Donovan McNabb has figured out one way to stay in the nation's capital.
"Maybe I'll play for the Nationals," he said.
The Washington Redskins do quarterback controversies like no one else, even during a lockout. Wednesday was about as busy as it gets, especially considering the next official team practice is on indefinite hold.
McNabb was the showcase guest at the opening of a local health center and joked about playing baseball as he discussed his latest bizarre offseason. Rex Grossman appeared on the radio and said he "definitely" feels he'll be the starter next season, even though he's a free agent. Both were asked about John Beck, who has been on a media blitz of sorts lately, saying he sees himself as the No. 1 — even though he hasn't played in a regular-season game since 2007.
"For someone who's so quiet and really just tries to be the best at what I do — and to be a part of the firestorm every offseason — it's amazing," McNabb said.
McNabb is still under contract, basically a Redskins quarterback in name only. But his year with Washington was troublesome. He was benched twice in a 6-10 season, and there were testy exchanges involving his agent and the team. Washington is expected to trade or release him after the lockout ends.
"No one else outside can control what happens at Redskins Park," McNabb said. "They'll make their decision and whatever decision it is, I'll keep on moving. ... It really doesn't matter to me. If I'm here, or if I'm elsewhere, I'll be fine. ... Everything that happened at the end of the year just made me stronger mentally."
Among the recent stories to add to the McNabb pile: A report by 106.7 The Fan radio alleged he refused to wear a wristband during games to help him with the plays. McNabb declined to address the issue Wednesday, but Grossman contributed a nugget or two to the intrigue in his appearance on ESPN980 radio.
"I personally don't like wearing a wristband. Some teams do it, some people like it, some quarterbacks like it, and obviously Donovan didn't like it, so he didn't want to do that," Grossman said. "I'm not sure that was a major issue. I don't think that was a big problem between him and the coaching staff."
Grossman said McNabb had a tough transition after 11 years in one system with the Philadelphia Eagles and that "it got a little bit strained" between McNabb and the coach staff by the end of the year.
"I think he's ready to move on, and they are too," Grossman said.
As for his own future, Grossman said he'll be back in the area next week when the Redskins hold their second players-own minicamp at a Virginia high school. He started the final three games last season, but his contract expired when the lockout began.
However, he agreed his chances to re-sign and be the starter increase the longer the lockout goes on because he's more comfortable with the offense than McNabb, Beck or anyone else the team might sign.
"I definitely feel like I'm the starter, but I'm not even signed yet, so I'm assuming a lot of things here," Grossman said. "The coaches have to set the playing field and let us know what the situation is. I feel I'm coming into the prime of my experience and I know exactly what I can do well and what my weaknesses and strengths are, and how it relates to this offense. I've been in crucial situations. I've played in the Super Bowl. I feel I'm so much better than I was then that I'd like to have the opportunity to have a full season with this offense and have a whole season to feel like this is my team. That's my goal. That's what I want to happen."
But he'll have to beat out Beck, who received effusive praise from coach Mike Shanahan after the Redskins opted not to take a quarterback in last month's draft. Beck is under contract but hasn't played since he was a rookie with the Miami Dolphins four years ago. He's made at least four radio appearances in recent weeks, speaking with all the confidence of someone who will be taking the first snap in the season opener in September.
"Every single player in the NFL, if you don't feel you're a starter, you shouldn't be in the business," Grossman said. "I think he's leaving no stone unturned. He's doing everything he can to put himself out there. You're not going to be perceived as the starter unless you say it, I guess. If he doesn't say it, no one else is going to say it."
Joseph White can be reached at http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP