MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 31, 2007) -- Donovan McNabb doesn't want to leave Philadelphia, isn't jealous over the success Jeff Garcia had replacing him as Eagles quarterback, and wasn't muzzled by coach Andy Reid.
"The so-called rumors that have started, they're false," McNabb said. "I'm a Philadelphia Eagle and will continue to be a Philadelphia Eagle, hopefully, for more years to come, and hopefully will retire as an Eagle."
With that, McNabb began a 4-minute speech at the Super Bowl media center, where he was appearing at a news conference where Campbell's Soup announced it was donating 1 million cans to food banks nationwide. It was his first time speaking at length with reporters since tearing a knee ligament Nov. 19 and, as expected, McNabb had plenty to say.
"It's unfortunate we have to sit here now to discuss this," McNabb said.
McNabb's season-ending injury came in Week 11 against Tennessee. Before getting hurt, he was among the NFL's leaders in yards passing (2,647), touchdown passes (18) and passer rating (95.5).
With McNabb as a starter, the Eagles were 5-5. With Garcia under center, they were 6-2 and won the NFC East title.
"I was actually very happy for Jeff," McNabb said. "I know the fans of Philadelphia wanted A.J. Feeley and cheered for him, but I told Jeff he was brought in here to lead this team."
But while McNabb's season was over, the hubbub surrounding him was anything but.
One report in mid-January, citing unidentified sources close to McNabb, said the five-time Pro Bowl quarterback was upset Reid wouldn't allow him to travel with the team to the playoff game at New Orleans. Reid doesn't allow players on injured reserve to travel, and McNabb acknowledged that he was upset -- but only because he and other injured Eagles couldn't help their team.
McNabb, who has led the Eagles to four NFC championship games and a Super Bowl loss, also denied reports he was angry with how fans and players embraced Garcia's success; the perception that his mother didn't enjoy seeing the Eagles win without him; and the notion that Reid canceled a Jan. 19 news conference simply to keep him quiet.
"We both felt nothing good would have come out of it," McNabb said.
He also said the rehabilitation on his knee is going well and according to plan, and expects to be on the field when the Eagles open the 2007 season.
"It feels that it's getting stronger," McNabb said. "I'm able to do a lot of different things. I'm running in the water and feeling strong in the water. But it's a difference between running on land, obviously, and running in water."