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Donovan McNabb Conf. Call Transcript - 9/10/03

McNabb: every year things are tested and every opportunity that you have to bounce back you want to take full advantage of



**Q: Hi Donovan.

DM:** How are you doing?

**Q: Fine. We are doing just peachy. I mean, we're doing peachy everyone else around us is not doing so good.

DM:** I hear you. Well we're doing peachy over here too and not everybody around here is doing well.

**Q: One of the interesting aspects of your team in the last 45 games you have never had back-to-back losses. It speaks well to the resiliency you guys have had.

DM:** Well, that is definitely a fortunate situation but every year things are tested and every opportunity that you have obviously to bounce back you want to take full advantage of. It definitely shows, not just the resiliency of the team, but just the mindset, the way we try to prepare after a loss or after a win. It's pretty much the same and hopefully we continue that on, but I think what we have to do obviously is just erase what happened last week or actually it happened a couple days ago, and just focus on who we're playing next.

**Q: The fact that you have had that kind of record, you have had the most wins in the last three years, regular season wins, you guys have been about as consistent a football team as you want to have and consistency will get you to the playoffs most all the time.

DM:** I think that the way that we continue to prepare in the off season, during the regular season are the things that we like to get done. It starts our practice for us so our focus starts from the very beginning, and fortunately for us it starts today.

**Q: To get off football here in a matter of speaking, you are a player on the Board of Trustees at your alma mater. What do you think you bring to the table so to speak?

DM:** I bring a little pizzazz. I bring some razzle-dazzle. (laughter) I think what I bring to the board is just honestly a young mind, an up-to-date mind on what the players, the student body what they are interested in. I think anytime you have an opportunity to talk to some of the students, talk to some of the graduates, the younger graduates of the University, we try to be in the best interest of the people that are there. Obviously we want to keep in mind that it is academics first, but you want to have a little bit of fun while you are there because it is always the years that you'll remember for the rest of your life.

**Q: When you see what is going on in college athletics over the last year, whether it is Baylor or Ohio State or what happened at St. Bonaventure, the list goes on and on. What do you make of that?

DM:** Well the way I look at it, with everything that is going on, obviously you never want that to happen to the University that you are a part of. So you want to make sure that you are doing the right thing. Sometimes, obviously, some players or some individuals have their own ideas or have their own perceptions of what they need to do. And it's not in the best interest of the University. Fortunately I have been a part of a university that has made good decisions; hopefully we can continue to do that. And if we can continue to stress that to the student body hopefully we can stay away from that.

**Q: What has led to that? Is it just because there is so much money now in college athletics? Is it because more kids whether it's a Carmelo Anthony at Syracuse, I don't mean this in a bad sense but he's look to get into the NBA, he's not looking to get a degree, [Maurice] Clarett is obviously more concerned about getting into the NFL than getting a degree. What factors have led to this sort of thing?

DM:** I think the players that we've had at the University have had the mindset of getting a degree first. Some players come to universities and say, 'Well, I'm only going to be here for two years, then I'm going pro.' Not knowing that obviously if you are not doing what you have to do in the classroom, then you won't play that second year. If you are not doing what you are supposed to be doing on the basketball court or the football field then you won't be going pro early in your career. So it's not an easy task. People think it's an easy task and say, 'Well, so and so did it.' Or "LeBron James came out of high school. Kevin Garnett. Kobe Bryant. So those guys did it, I can do it as well.' It's not easy and when you're in college, you want to take full advantage of the opportunity that is given to you. You're getting a free education, take advantage of it, because after football or after basketball if you happen to make it, you have to have something to fall back on.

**Q: You set incredibly high standards both for yourself and for the team on the course of the year. How disappointing was it to come out, particularly yourself and the offense, with that kind of performance against Tampa Bay Monday?

DM:** Well, I wouldn't say it's disappointing. I would say it is a little more frustrating, than disappointing. It's frustrating because obviously we know we are a better team. And the end result of it, it hurts. The positive thing about the whole deal is that you can learn from that and move on the next week against another opponent. In this league you have no room to dwell on what happened in the past. You have to move onto the future, we have 15 guaranteed games left. If we sit there and ponder on what's happened in a tough game or in a loss, then we are definitely going to go down. That's not something that we prepare for, that's not something that really defines what kind of team we have. And we know that. We look at this as an opportunity for us to go out and really showcase our talents and show what kind of team we have. Last week is over.

**Q: One of the surprises of the week was certainly the Patriots getting blasted 31-0. Are you surprised having played them this summer, getting a little taste of what they are all about, you've seen them in the past, that they would be man handled the way they were from what you've seen on film?

DM:** I haven't really seen them on film too much. Just watching the film before the preseason game and knowing kind of what we might see during the year. I know that they are a challenging team. It is just unfortunate, if you look across the league, it is just unfortunate of what happened for some teams in the first week. But those teams are going to bounce back. For those teams that have won, obviously it is a little more pressure on them now to see how people are going to react after the big win. I think what we have to do as a unit over here is just continue to stay together, stay focused, like the team that we are and just go out and play football. Any time we try to think of a mistake we make or try to think of the things we have done, then it takes away from the things that we want to get done in the next couple of plays of the series, or whatever may be in the course of the game. We have to focus on one play at a time and go out there and try to execute it.

**Q: Can you talk a minute about your health and I understand you underwent a different physical workout during the off season. Can you tell us a little bit about that and what that entails?

DM:** Well it was a challenging workout this off-season. I spent a lot of time in 115-degree weather in Arizona. And what we did was challenge each athlete to push each other and just make sure that we wanted in our minds to be the best. And the guys that I work out with did an excellent job of just pushing watermelon and trying to stay focused on their goals and in doing that making sure the guy next to them was ready. I try to be a big leader in all of those workouts. In the challenging workout, with a lot of agility drills, was a challenging workout with a lot of changing direction. The list goes on, but it was something that prepared me coming into the year, especially off of an injury, where I felt physically stronger, physically and mentally stronger coming into camp.

**Q: In the Eagles' press releases, you arrived at training camp with a physique unequaled by any quarterback past or present?

DM:** I pay those guys every now and then to make me sound great.

**Q: Have you seen the pictures of Sonny Jorgensen when he was an Eagle? How do you compare with him?

DM:** No, I haven't seen them, but he came back at 250 pounds, that is wonderful back in the day.

**Q: I think the pictures of Sonny were taken with a wide-angle lens?

DM:** (laughter) I am not here to talk bad about anybody.

**Q: Back to the Board of Trustees thing for a second here. I get the impression that you want this to be more than some kind of okay. Donovan's on there and he writes us a check and he does give us a little pizzaz. I get the impression that you want to have some input into this, you are taking this seriously, this isn't just a sort of show the flag kind of deal.

DM:** I definitely do. I want people to understand that it is more than just the name on the Board of Trustees, because on the Board of Trustees we have a lot of big time names of guys with a lot of money. But it's all about input. It's all about how we can make the University better, how we can put ourselves in position to be amongst the top, and in doing that making it a comfortable environment for the students that are there.

**Q: Anybody would hate to see that happen to the alma mater. Is that something you are consciously try to keep an eye on?

DM:** Definitely. Definitely. If I can spend time with the athletes that are there and get a chance to talk to them about my experience there and the things that they'll be faced with, how to handle different situations, that is something that I would love to do. And that is something that I plan on doing actually.

**Q: What advice would you give them?

DM:** Understand that you are not just one of the students on campus. You are one of the role models and you are one of the people that I look up to, so the decisions that you make obviously will be magnified and people will be watching what you do. Make sure you stay on top of every decision, because if you make the wrong decision, not only will it hurt you and your family, but it will hurt the University.

**Q: What did you get your degree in?

DM:** I received my degree in Speech Communications with a minor in African-American Studies.

**Q: Now in that context, there was no doubt if you stayed healthy you were going to head to what looked like a lucrative professional career. Some guys in that situation say, 'Hey that's where I am going and academics take a back seat.' Obviously that wasn't your approach. Why was that?

DM:** Well, I came from a family that was very supportive, a family that continued to stress in my mind that there is other things to worry about besides football. I'm not a guy that says, 'I'll play football, I'll be fine.' That's great when you have something like that to fall back on. If football doesn't work out, then what? I wanted to become a sports broadcaster, an anchor. And the only way by doing that, obviously, is by receiving a degree and possibly moving further with it later on. I felt that when I went through everything with the academics, I wanted to give back to my parents because they were always supportive of everything that I've done. So receiving my degree from a prestigious university was very big in my family.

**Q: Do you think it is hard to convince kids of that, particularly guys who know they are going to the league, whether the league be the NBA or the NFL or whatever?

DM:** I don't think that it's hard. I think that they way to go about it obviously is by showing your credentials and showing other big time players that have received their degrees. Michael Jordan went back to North Carolina to receive his degree. You had Vince Carter, which was a controversial thing, but he went back to receive his degree. And not only did he go back to receive it, but he went back to the graduation. Now how many big time players do that, to be back with the student body and receive that degree when they are making millions of dollars? Shaquille O'Neal did it. Kobe Bryant is taking classes. You look at guys like this who are big faces in the NBA and the NFL, whatever it may be, that are taking time out of their off season to go back and receive their degree.

**Q: Not to get too political here, but is it more important in the sense, when you look at the number of kids, they talk about the school situation, the inner-city, and how difficult it is for the athletes and non-athletes to get an education, to be a role model for young African-American kids, whether they are athletes or not and say that it isn't all football for Donovan McNabb or it isn't all basketball for Shaquille O'Neal?

DM:** Well I think it is important that we give back to the community. And the community in which you are talking about is the one that really needs it. I think that in the minority community where they don't really receive one of the top educations, as far as preparing themselves for the future or putting them in the position where they can go to a Michigan, go to a Notre Dame, go to a Syracuse, but then still you have to stress after those guys that you don't have to go to a Michigan, you don't have to go to a Wisconsin, Illinois, Syracuse, whatever it may be to receive a top-notch degree. You can do to any four-year university, get your degree, and put yourself in position where you can go to a big time school and receive your masters. There are a lot of people in these minority communities who work really hard at the academics and look for a brighter future and they will make that move. But for the other individuals in the community who are wondering if it doesn't work out, maybe I can just go back on the streets and try to make money, you have to reach out to them

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