Rumors and the lockout haven't kept Donovan McNabb from one of his trademarks -- being a presence in the community.
McNabb, his wife and mother attended Wednesday's grand opening of Maryâs Center, a medical facility in the Washington, D.C. area, and last season's starting quarterback said he had no problem with backup John Beck's statements that he's preparing to be next season's starter for the Washington Redskins.
"I really donât know what he said. All Iâve heard is that (coach Mike) Shanahan is backing John Beck to be the starter," McNabb told the Washington Post. "It really doesnât matter to me. If Iâm here, or if Iâm elsewhere, Iâll be fine."
On Tuesday, Beck said he thinks he has a "legitimate chance" to become the Redskins' starter.
"Coach (head coach Mike Shanahan) hasn't told me anything but go out there and work as hard as you can, do the best that you can, and try to earn this job," Beck said. "That's what's been said to me. Really, that's all I can ask for."
When told about Beck's comments, McNabb only had positive things to say about the four-year veteran.
"John is a great guy. He does a great job preparing himself," McNabb said. "Iâve known him since he was about 16 years old. Iâve trained with him in Arizona, he went to BYU. Heâs done a great job, and Iâm sure heâs taking on that role because heâs kind of been given the position, so to speak. Heâll do a good job if that was to happen."
McNabb, however, was bothered by allegations that he refused to wear a play-calling wristband because he didn't want to hurt his image. Having stayed quiet on the matter last week, he spoke up Wednesday, telling the Post he thought the accusations were "amazing."
"For someone whoâs so quiet and really just tries to be the best at what I do, and to be a part of the firestorm every offseason, itâs amazing," he said. "I never let that affect what Iâm doing. I write goals for myself every season and offseason, and I look to achieve those goals, and they really make you stronger mentally and physically. Things are going to be out there negative, out there about you. Everyoneâs going to play the hoopla and what-if. But I can only control what I can control. All I can do is make sure Iâm ready when the time comes."
McNabb has a year remaining on his Redskins contract, but is 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. Meanwhile, McNabb has stayed active, recently working out in Arizona with members of the Arizona Cardinals.
"Maybe Iâll play for the Nationals," he joked before getting serious. "I love the city of D.C. and the fans have really welcomed me with open arms, and really, no one outside can control what happens at Redskins Park."
Later Wednesday, Rex Grossman, who started three games after head coach Mike Shanahan benched McNabb, chimed in, telling ESPN980 he definitely feels like the starter, but added "Iâm not even signed yet."
"Iâve been in a lot of situations, crucial games. Iâve played in the Super Bowl," Grossman said. "I feel like Iâm so much better than I was then that Iâd love the opportunity to have a full season with this offense and have a whole season to really feel like this is my team. Thatâs my goal and that's what I want to happen."
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.
But he'll have to beat out Beck, who received effusive praise from 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.
When asked about Beck's proclamation, Grossman told ESPN 980: "I think heâs leaving no stone unturned. Heâs 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 doesnât say it, no one else is going to say it. I know the coaches appreciate his hard work and think heâs pretty talented and not quite sure what he can do. This is the time of year that you prove or donât prove you can do those things. So heâs not benefiting from the lockout at all."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.