McNabb on return to practice: 'It felt great'

PHILADELPHIA -- Donovan McNabb took a major step forward in
his return from knee surgery, practicing with the
Philadelphia Eagles on Monday several weeks ahead of schedule.

The five-time Pro Bowl quarterback participated in non-contact
drills in his first action on the field since he tore the anterior
cruciate ligament in his right knee last Nov. 19.

"It felt great to get back out there on the field with all of
the guys," McNabb said. "It's just part of the rehab process and
hopefully good things will continue to come. It's important to
continue to monitor my progress, but also be smart about the whole

McNabb rehabbed vigorously since his latest injury ended his
season early for the third time in five years. He had been throwing
on the side for weeks and simulating practice movements, but hadn't
been expected to take part in drills with the team until training
camp opened next month.

It was quite a surprise when McNabb remained on the field after
tossing passes during individual drills and took a handful of snaps
with the first-team offense. He left practice early as planned.

"He's where we hoped he would be," coach Andy Reid said. "He
worked very hard to get to this spot, so we let him test it out. We
didn't give him too much. We want to make sure he can move around
tomorrow, if possible. So we gave him a few shots and got him back
to the ice tub. I thought he did a nice job. He looked strong."

The Eagles will practice three more days before breaking camp
until July 27. McNabb's status for the rest of the week is day to day.

"He has been working harder than what he did out here in the
rehab process," Reid said. "But, again, you get out there and get
your juices going and you start banging that thing a little bit
harder into the ground on your drops than you normally would, so
we'll see how he does there."

McNabb was having one of the best seasons of his career before
he was injured against the Tennessee Titans, throwing for 2,647
yards and 18 touchdowns for a quarterback rating of 95.5 in 10 games.

He said he was shocked when the Eagles picked quarterback Kevin Kolb in the second round with their first selection in the NFL
draft, but doesn't hold any hard feelings toward management.

A consistent target for criticism despite his success in
Philadelphia, McNabb has gone out of his way to show another side
of himself in recent weeks. He hired a former Eagles public
relations official to be his publicist and has conducted several
interviews with selected media outlets -- many of those interviews
held away from team headquarters.