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Updated: October 24th, 2011 4:31pm
Donovan McNabb challenges 'sources' who say he didn't work hard

Donovan McNabb challenges 'sources' who say he didn't work hard

by Judd Zulgad
1500ESPN.com
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Donovan McNabb used the word ridiculous Monday as he responded to a report by former NFL executive Michael Lombardi that the veteran quarterback displayed a lack of commitment during his time as the Minnesota Vikings' starting quarterback.

Lombardi's story on NFL.com stated that, "McNabb is at a point in his career that he does not seem to want to put in the time, (is) willing to show up late for meetings and practice, and expects to just play well." Lombardi also wrote that McNabb did not grasp the Vikings offense, a problem he also had in Washington, and had trouble "spitting the plays out quickly."

McNabb, who lost the starting job last week to rookie Christian Ponder, scoffed at the report.

"These guys see me," he said. "I'm in here, one of the first guys in the building and the last to leave. For any of that to come out is ridiculous. I think the way I've gone about it, I would ask you guys obviously to talk to (offensive coordinator) Bill (Musgrave), talk to (quarterbacks coach) Craig Johnson, talk to Leslie (Frazier).

"They'll tell you I haven't missed a practice. I haven't missed a meeting; one of the first in the building, one of the last to leave, just being on top of being ready for the game. You know, it's just another challenge throughout my career of, you hear sources. I would challenge those sources to come out and make it public because it's definitely not true."

Asked if there might be someone with an ax to grind, McNabb said: "I don't know and at this point, I don't care because I prepare myself and try to do what the coaches ask me to do. Obviously making sure Christian is ready and preparing him, and while I was out there doing what they wanted me to do and what they expected of me. It's just out of character for me. It's really ridiculous."

Whether he was prepared, McNabb did not come close to having the success the Vikings were hoping for when they signed him to a one-year, $5.05 million deal after making a trade with Washington following the NFL lockout.

McNabb was benched having won one of six starts and completing only 60.3 percent of his passes.

Despite the lack of success, McNabb feels his teammates know him well enough to know that he has been working hard.

"People who don't know, they hear from what's been reported or what so-called sources say and they make their own assumptions," McNabb said. " ... The players, the ones who really I care about the most is the players in here.

"They see the preparation, me working with the offensive line after meetings and trying to get ready for game day. That's what really matters. Obviously everything would come out once Leslie addresses it, or Bill, or if you ask Craig he'll tell you the same. So that will be eliminated and we'll hear what the reports are from there."

As for Ponder's debut as a starting quarterback in the Vikings' 33-27 loss to Green Bay on Sunday, McNabb said he came away impressed. (Ponder completed 13 of 32 passes for 219 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.)

"I thought he did a great job," McNabb said. "I thought he was very relaxed. Obviously some throws that he would love to have back, but that's part of the frustration that's been going on all year of just momentum goes your way then kind of shifts. You look up at the scoreboard at the end and we have nothing to show for it. I think he's going to continue to grow and get these repetitions. (It's) really going to help him out for the future."

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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