Is Donovan McNabb the Answer for the Bears?

Frank Doyle | Updated Dec 02, 2011


The Bears have a problem at quarterback. Donovan McNabb is a quarterback with a problem. Is this a match made in Heaven? Frank Doyle reports.

The story would be fantastic of course. McNabb was waived by the Vikings last night and, while he said that he hasn’t spoken to anybody and has no ulterior motive, he reads the papers just like everybody else. McNabb saw how Caleb Hanie struggled at Oakland, just like everybody else.

Donovan McNabb is a Chicago native – he went to school at Mount Carmel, which is a fifteen minute trip along Lake Shore Drive to Soldier Field. What better way to end a career than to ride into the sunset in the colors of the home town team?

There’s only one flaw in that assessment, and it is this. Maybe McNabb’s career has ended already. If it has, it makes as much sense for the Bears to bring back Dick Butkus at middle linebacker as it does to sign Donovan McNabb.

When McNabb left Philadelphia for the Redskins, it looked like a perfect situation for everybody. McNabb owed the Eagles nothing, and this was a good chance for him to add an Indian summer to a fine career.

But it’s unusual for teams to trade players with a division – that’s how Brett Favre spent a year in New York before going to Minnesota. The Packers had no interest in making the Vikings stronger if they could help it.

The Eagles trading McNabb to Washington wasn’t like them trading him to Oakland, or Buffalo, or Tennessee. If the Eagles were willing to trade McNabb to another team in the NFC East it meant that they didn’t consider him a threat any more.

And so it came to pass. McNabb struggled at Washington last year, and was a busted flush at Minnesota this year. There won’t be a final, glorious, Chicago coda to McNabb’s career. McNabb’s career is already over.

It’s been a fine career, and McNabb was particularly gracious in his dealings with the two troubled souls who came to Philadelphia during his time there. Michael Vick has acknowledged it. Terrell Owens almost certainly will not, but that’s how it goes. Donovan McNabb owes nobody anything.

As for the Bears, it’s not all bad. Chicago remains a sports betting favorite to go the playoffs, and it was hardly Caleb Hanie’s choice to throw thirty-six times at Oakland on Sunday. McNabb wouldn’t be able to throw thirty-six times either.

The Bears have to break down their offense like the Jets broke theirs down for Mark Sanchez and then rely on Brian Urlacher and the defense to keep them in games until Jay Cutler returns. McNabb would have been a great signing for Chicago when Rex Grossman was there five or six years ago, maybe. But that was then and this is now and it’s not going to work. The clock never goes back.