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Donovan McNabb: "When you have dark times, you have to find a way to pull yourself out of it and really make it benefit you."

It really is incredible how much scrutiny and unfair criticism Donovan McNabb has received over the years. For a man who has a career record of 97-57 and a TD: INT ratio of 2:1 (230 TDs, 115 INTs), you'd think he'd be showered with praise and celebrated as a future Hall of Famer that's been outstanding on the field and a tremendous teammate and person outside the lines. Not the case obviously. Last year was particularly ridiculous if you ask me. So McNabb wasn't able to single-handedly save a team with little talent and a new coaching staff -- let's blast the guy and heap all the blame on him!

Pretty sure there will be an interesting documentary about McNabb sometime in the future once his career is over with and he and his former teammates are more willing to talk about all the pressure and scrutiny he's faced during his 12-year career. For now, we have to settle for McNabb cautiously saying all the right things when asked about the treatment he's received from fans and scribes that refuse to appropriately acknowledge his accomplishments while jumping down his throat at the first sign of struggle or failure. McNabb did just that in a conversation with Mike & Mike (interview begins at 28:00 mark) on Thursday morning to talk about last season with the Redskins, the importance of growing stronger as a person and player from last year's disappointments, why Minnesota was a perfect fit for him, and trying to incorporate Adrian Peterson more heavily in the passing game.

What happened that things went in such a bad direction in Washington last year?:

"It’s one that I’ve put behind me and I’ve moved forward. There was a lot of things that I’ve learned and a lot of things that I’m just going to leave back there in Washington. But you know, the thing about it is, every now and then you go through a bump in the road, a little adversity, and it’s all about how you overcome it. I’m just going to make it stronger, for me, mentally, throughout this whole process and take full advantage of it."

Was last year the hardest year, mentally, of your career?:

"It was. It was a challenge in so many ways, but you know the whole thing about it is it’s how you’re able to withstand the test of time. When you have dark times, you have to find a way to pull yourself out of it and really make it benefit you. … Now my main focus is what can I do to help this team win here in Minnesota? … I look forward to going out there and really challenging not only my teammates, but myself, to go out and be the guy that everyone knows that I am, the one they’ve seen over the years, and be better."

When the lockout ended, you heading to Minnesota seemed like a perfect fit and then it worked out just that way. Why is it the right spot?:

"Well, it all starts up top. You have a guy who really, really knows you in Leslie Frazier. … He understands the things that I do, the things that I enjoy doing and my leadership qualities. It’s not one that’s going to be a challenge. Leslie and I have a great relationship. We can sit down and talk and find out what exactly he expects from me. And he just wants me to go out and be the guy that he knows that I am."

How will having a star running back in Adrian Peterson affect your game?:

"What it does is it takes a lot of pressure off the guys on the outside. When you have a guy like Adrian Peterson, who is very aggressive in the run game but also does a great job in the blitz pickup — that’s one thing he doesn’t get a lot of credit for. I think what we also want to do is we want to involve him more in the passing game, being able to hit him with check-downs and screens and get him moving a little bit to keep defenses guessing."

(Transcription via: SportsRadioInterviews)

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.