Donovan McNabb Press Conference Transcript

Donovan McNabb returned to practice this week, surprising his teammates. For McNabb, it was just another step along the path and he's ready for all that comes next.

On whether he considered the time it took for other players to return from an ACL injury before taking the practice field this week:
"I've definitely thought about that and I've communicated with a lot of guys who have suffered the injury, or have done worse things to their particular knee. You have to be able to weigh a lot of options. You have to, first and foremost, think of how your body's responding to different workouts and rehab sessions in which you're participating in. Secondly, with me going six months into seven months [of time since he suffered the injury], the things that you would have to do to strengthen the knee and get back into football form, that's why I waited until this point to try and do some football stuff. I try to come in the morning and do a normal workout and push it a little bit. And in the afternoon, with camp, be able to do some football-oriented stuff; dropping back to pass, working on timing with the guys, and see how the leg responds after that. It's responded in a positive manner. But again, I'm going to have to stay on it and continue to work on it before training camp so I will at least have an understanding of what I can and cannot do at that particular point."

On whether he's had any swelling in his knee following practice:
"I haven't had as much swelling as I've had in the past couple of months and that's a positive thing. Also, the soreness hasn't been as excruciating as it's been in the previous months. This is the time where you push it just a little more than you did in month five and month four [of the recovery process], and I will continue to do that as these months continue to pass by. But, you want to be smart with the whole deal. Just because I'm practicing doesn't mean I'm trying to do too much, too early. It's just part of the rehab session and something in which I think I'll be able to benefit from later on as this thing continues on."

On what he got out of this week of practice:
"I got an opportunity to get a great feel of how my knee will respond, taking reps and dropping back consistently, moving around in the pocket, carrying the ball out, or getting out of the pocket and running- stuff that I've been doing in the previous months. You want to see how your leg holds up. Fatigue hasn't really kicked in in the leg; the strength is definitely there. We're going to continue to work on it and push it each day as this thing continues on before training camp."

On whether it was important for him to get a practice in before training camp:
"It was important in so many ways. It was important to push to see how the leg would respond. But secondly, it was important to get out and work on timing and chemistry with those guys. It felt great to get back out there in the huddle running plays and being able to execute plays like we've done in the past. It was also good as far as confidence is concerned, about being able to trust the leg and trust the work that we've put in, and seeing the result of how it may feel at this point."

On whether it is more difficult to physically or mentally overcome the injury:
"Well I've already gotten past the part of believing, knowing that the knee is healed. Now it's pretty much being able to do a lot of football-oriented stuff. If it's changing directions, starting and stopping, being able to accelerate, whatever it may be, so that trust in the leg is there. The confidence factor is there as well, of knowing what I can do in the pocket if I have to get out of the pocket and be able to run. I can do that. But, for me, it was pretty much being able to put all that in one egg shell and go out and play football again. If it's working with the receivers, running backs, tight ends, whatever it may be, I had that opportunity this week, and it's something I look forward to doing as this thing continues on in Arizona, working with the guys up there."

On whether he has communicated with QB Daunte Culpepper:
"Daunte is a guy I've communicated with a couple of times. You just continue to pray for the guy. Our injuries are definitely different. He tore all three muscles in the leg and it takes a little bit more time for that. I had an ACL injury as well as a meniscus tear, so it was quite similar to [Cincinnati Bengals QB] Carson Palmer, but more like [Miami Dolphins QB] Trent Green. Both guys came back in about eight months or seven months, and still had to continue to work at it and continue to strengthen the leg and have that confidence in it. I've communicated with a lot of guys and with Dr. Andrews [who performed the surgery] on many occasions of what I can and cannot do at this point and how he feels it will continue to progress."

On whether he'll be ready for the regular season opener vs. GB:
"We have to stick to reality. We never know what may happen. You're trying to eliminate as many setbacks as possible, if any, and you just want to continue to be smart with it. If that means me coming into training camp and the leg is not where I want it to be, then that means I may not practice. Or, the exhibition games come around and I'm not ready, I will not play. So, you have to be able to respond and be able to answer some of the questions that you feel you have to answer, especially communicating with [head coach] Andy [Reid] and the coaching staff, and just letting them know what I can and cannot do at that point."

On whether he has any special way to motivate himself:
"I don't know. I just kind of motivate myself in any way. I think the main thing for me is to just continue to have faith in God and know that I'm in His hands, and that whatever may happen, may happen."

On who's joining him for his yearly training session at his home in Arizona:
"I've communicated with all the guys and all of them have pretty much said they'd love to come out to Arizona again and be able to work. We don't know exactly at this point. We haven't had too many confirmations. We have to get our time and dates together to make sure everybody's on the same page."

On whether WR Kevin Curtis is a player he wants to join him in Arizona:
"Definitely. All of the receivers- older as well as younger guys."

On how he prepares for training camp and "two-a-day" practices:
"The positive thing about the way it has been going is the fact that I've been able to do a lot of football oriented stuff; stuff that I had been doing previous years in Arizona, training. So, I can go back to Arizona and get started with that--doing agility drills, throwing with guys, speed work, strengthening my leg in the weight room, flexibility training, pilates, things of that nature. When the time comes, if the body and the knee respond well, I'll be ready to go. You have to be slow with this whole deal. I can go out and run agilities all week or run sprints or whatever it may be, and be in great condition, but the knee may not respond to me practicing twice a day like I want. It may not, or it may. So, we just have to continue to communicate throughout this whole ordeal and make sure we're on the same page."

On whether he has spoken to Bengals QB Carson Palmer or Dolphins QB Trent Green about coming back from their ACL injuries:
"I haven't talked to those two guys personally. I've talked to people who are close to them, I've talked to other people who have had the injury, or people who suffered it in college. You just want to find out what their timetable was and what they did in order to strengthen it and make sure they came back strong. A lot of them have said six months, some said seven, some said eight. Talking to [RB] Correll [Buckhalter], it took him maybe a year before he felt like he was back to normal. You just have to continue to answer the question for your body of what you can do at that particular point. Once your body responds in a positive manner, you continue to push it more and more until you are 100-percent."

On whether anyone offered him the advice of taking it easier:
"A lot of people have told me to just sit down somewhere. Being at six months, going on seven months now, this is the time where you have to push it. Not to the point where your leg feels like it's going to fall off, but you just do a little bit extra each day and see how it responds. If it swells, if you get a lot of soreness, or if it is weak--whatever it may be--but, you just want to find out exactly what you can and cannot do at this point."

On how he arrived at the decision to practice this week:
"I didn't have the mindset of exactly what I was going to do or when I was going to do it. I think when it came to the point of last week, when I was watching practice, I would come in early in the morning and work out and do different things and then I would watch practice. [Last] Friday, I decided that I wanted to do a little bit more, so Monday I kind of just ran a couple of drills and warmed up and threw with the guys to see how it would respond. After practice, I went inside and iced up [to see] how the knee would respond after that. Would it be sore? Would it swell up? There wasn't that much soreness and it didn't swell up a lot. So, I came in the next morning and did the same regimen of working out in the morning and then being able to ice and then reheat it back up and warm it back up and go out to practice. It has really been responding well at this particular point. If this was a couple of weeks ago, I probably wouldn't have been out there."

On whether he had to sell the idea of coming out to practice to head coach Andy Reid or head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder:
"Not necessarily. Rick and I have been communicating all throughout this deal. I've been here the majority of the offseason and Rick has been seeing the progression and how it has been moving forward and the way I've been strengthening it and going out and running. He's been watching me run agilities, dropping back and throwing. So, it wasn't too much of a sell; it was just making sure we were all on the same page as far as confidence was concerned. With me going out there and being able to do it, that everyone would understand why we were doing it and kind of seeing the result after we were done."

On what he wants to achieve next:
"The next step I want to achieve is that I want it to get better and better. The percentage of it maybe being at 70 or 75 now, to maybe in a month being 85 or 90, possibly 90 or 95 [percent]. It's a slow process, but you want to continue to stay on it. This isn't one of the injuries where you feel like, 'Alright, I have practiced. Now I can kind of relax.' This is an injury where you have to continue to stay on it and push with your mind, as well as your body, to achieve that common goal."

On whether he's gotten a feel for the team that he wouldn't have had if he didn't participate over the past few days:
"Well, it's not like I haven't played in years. I know the guys that are out there and I watched practice and the way they've been working in the offseason and minicamps, as well as in the weight room and out running. I know these guys are working hard, I know what they're capable of doing. I played with them. We all have that goal and the only way we'll be able to achieve that goal is if we play together."

On whether he is encouraged after the past few days:
"Well, it's a confidence booster after these four days of what we've been able to do. The exciting thing about it is that you get out there and guys are making plays. You put the ball in position where guys can catch and get upfield, just the anticipation of getting back on the field. My knee is fine, it'll get better. I am encouraged by the things I've been able to do with my leg and with the injury. While you're out on the field, you don't focus on that. My focus is not my leg, my focus is feeling that I am at 100 percent and being able to get out and practice at a high level of enthusiasm."

On what extent he will be able to go out and play without focusing on previous injuries:
"I don't focus on the past. The past is over. The future is ahead of us and I can only focus on the present time."

On what he thought the team got out of him being out there:
"I kind of felt a different type of energy, of guys flying around and guys smiling and enjoying. That's what I enjoy. I enjoy trying to bring excitement back out to the game where guys feel good about their job and it's not something you feel like you have to do, but something that you enjoy. Whether we are competing in 7-on-7 drills or 1-on-1 drills, you communicate with the guys and you're pushing each other. If a guy drops a ball, you tell them to give me 10 pushups. I'll do pushups if I [make a bad throw], whatever it may be. It's just that confidence that everyone is giving each other. It's not something that we haven't seen while I wasn't practicing, but something that I felt like we were missing at that point and I was looking forward to getting back and providing that."

On being able to practice at the same pace as everyone else:
"I want to be at a pace where the team is at. That's why we'll continue to work throughout the month of June and July of coming into camp when everyone is at that high pace, that I'm also at that high pace. I don't want to feel like I'm behind or like I'm trying to catch up. It's going to take a lot throughout these next couple of weeks to make sure I get to that point. Not to say that I will be at that high pace like everyone will be, but I will continue to work it to get to that pace."

On how confident he is that he will be on the same page as Coach Reid during the rest of the process:
"I think we will both be on the same page. It's all about communication."


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