McNabb doesn't fly with fans of Eagles

QB booed as No. 2 pick

Dawggone good reception in Cleveland for Couch

Notebook

April 18, 1999|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,SUN STAFF

NEW YORK -- Donovan McNabb got a sneak preview of what it's like to play for the Philadelphia Eagles yesterday.

The Philadelphia fans, noted for booing Santa Claus, gave the same treatment to the Syracuse quarterback when he came on the stage after being selected as the second pick in the draft.

The Eagles fans, who were chanting "We want Ricky [Williams]" before the draft, were disappointed the Eagles didn't take the running back. Williams was the popular choice in Philadelphia and mayor Ed Rendell had even lobbied for his selection.

McNabb didn't seem too concerned about the rude reception.

"All we have to do really is get everything back to the way it used to be, get back on the winning track, then they'll believe it was the right pick," he said.

Of course, it might not have been a good omen to be the second pick in the draft by the Eagles.

The last time they had the second pick, in 1969, they selected Purdue running back Leroy Keyes, who had a disappointing career. Two picks later, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected a defensive tackle named Joe Greene, who's now in the Hall of Fame.

Most comfortable Couch

Tim Couch got a royal reception as the first draft pick of the new Cleveland Browns.

Owner Al Lerner was on the stage to welcome him after he was selected. The Big Dawg and members of the Dawg Pound were in the audience cheering. It was quite a contrast to the booing McNabb had to endure.

Lerner then brought Couch to Cleveland on his private plane, presumably the same one he brought Art Modell to Baltimore in when Modell signed the contract to move the Browns in 1995.

The Browns also got Couch under contract with a deal that was announced as $48 million for seven years, although that's a paper number. With a $12.25 million bonus, he'll actually make slightly more than $13 million over the first three years. The contract then voids and what he makes then depends on how well he plays and whether the Browns buy back the final four years.

Couch didn't seem concerned about all the questions about his ability. About three-quarters of his passes at Kentucky were under 10 yards and he could be a product of the system.

"I knew people were going to question my abilities," he said. "I knew I was a good football player."

Black QB breakthrough

Only four black quarterbacks -- Eldridge Dickey, who never played; Doug Williams; Andre Ware, and Steve McNair -- were selected in the first round in NFL history until yesterday, when McNabb, Akili Smith and Daunte Culpepper were picked.

Smith said, "Because of people like Doug Williams who have paved the way for us, the burden is on us as the next generation. We have to pave the way for the next college and high school African-American quarterbacks to play in the NFL."

Down Pat

The New England Patriots failed in their bid to trade up in the first round to get a running back, but made one of the strangest moves in the round when they gave Seattle third- and sixth-round picks to move up three spots to 17th to take center Damien Woody.

Woody probably would have been available at No. 20.

Et cetera

The five quarterbacks taken in the first round were second in NFL history to the six taken in 1983. Ohio State had three players taken in the first round, the 15th time a school has achieved that in the last 10 drafts. The Buckeyes also did it in 1995-1996. That means the Buckeyes have had nine first-round picks in the last five years, yet haven't won a national title.

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