NFL news of October 5, 2002

So how is it that in less than a week, one athletic quarterback with questionable accuracy can become the richest player in NFL history while another athletic quarterback with questionable accuracy can get benched in favor of someone who was selling insurance recently?

Welcome to the differing paths of Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb and Pittsburgh counterpart Kordell Stewart. The pair is separated by far more than hundreds of miles of Pennsylvania farmland.

“I can’t explain it with anything on paper,” said one scout who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “You do every measurement of athletic ability and they’re just about the same. You do the intelligence testing, it’s about the same. But when they play, you just wonder how they can be that different.”

So different that McNabb received a 12-year, $115 million contract extension last week. That’s a lifetime contract for someone who was booed by Eagles fans when Philadelphia took him No. 2 overall in 1999 instead of running back Ricky Williams. Even the mayor wanted Williams.

…Last week, Marshall quarterback Byron Leftwich, considered the early favorite to be the No. 1 pick in April’s draft, was on a Columbus, Ohio, radio talk show co-hosted by ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit.

Leftwich was asked his preference of winning the national title, winning the Heisman Trophy or being the No. 1 pick.

Leftwich said national title. “Because I have this nightmare that Paul Tagliabue comes to the podium and says, `With the first pick, the Cincinnati Bengals select …,’ ” he said.

— Jason Cole, The Miami Herald “McNabb, Stewart take disparate paths in NFL.”

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