ASHBURN, Va. — Donovan McNabb to second-string. Then to third-string. Then no guarantee that he’ll be back next season.
Maybe he’s no John Elway after all.
The ever-dramatic Washington Redskins upset the NFL apple cart once again Friday when coach Mike Shanahan announced Rex Grossman as his starter for the rest of the season, beginning with Sunday’s game at Dallas.
McNabb will be the No. 2 quarterback against the Cowboys, then drop to No. 3 behind Grossman and John Beck for the final two games of the season.
And after that?
“I also told him,” Shanahan said, “that I cannot guarantee him that he will be back next year.”
That’s how far the 34-year-old, six-time Pro Bowl quarterback has fallen. The player acquired with such fanfare in an April trade — the quarterback who would do for Shanahan in Washington what Elway did for him in Denver — is benched in a season in which he has been woefully inconsistent, throwing a career-high 15 interceptions and ranking 25th in the NFL with a 77.1 rating.
Asked if getting McNabb was a mistake, Shanahan said: “I think there’s a lot of mistakes that you make. You really don’t know if you made a mistake, but if you do make one, you make it and you go on. What I want to do is evaluate where we’re at the end of the season, then I will tell you if we erred or not.”
McNabb’s performance has the coach leaving all options open at the team’s most important position for 2011. Shanahan said he had been planning to make the move after the Redskins (5-8) were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, which happened last weekend after a 17-16 loss to Tampa Bay.
“I’ve got to find where Rex Grossman is, where John Beck is. I want a chance to evaluate these guys,” Shanahan said. “I told Donovan that there’s nothing he could do in the three games that would influence me over what he’s done over the last 13 games. I said, ‘I’m not sure what I’m going to do in the college draft, if we’re able to get the top quarterback in the draft, if there was a young Donovan McNabb or maybe a Sam Bradford, someone like that.’ There’s a lot of possibilities.”
McNabb did not comment Friday, saying “No! No! No!” to reporters as he entered Redskins Park after practice. McNabb’s wife abruptly canceled a scheduled interview with The Associated Press in which she planned to promote a charity event involving NFL wives.
Rodgers could play Sunday
GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Green Bay Packers have listed quarterback Aaron Rodgers as doubtful to play Sunday night at New England, a week after he suffered his second concussion of the season.
Coach Mike McCarthy, however, said Friday the door is open for Rodgers to play. He is hoping to make a decision on the starter by Saturday.
Rodgers didn’t practice this week, but McCarthy says he is progressing in his recovery from the head injury that knocked him out of the loss at Detroit last Sunday. McCarthy says the team is preparing to have Matt Flynn make his first NFL start, but the coach wouldn’t confirm the starter.
Rodgers made a brief appearance in the locker room after he attended part of Friday’s practice. Rodgers declined to take questions from reporters but was smiling and in a jovial mood.
Jets’ Pryce sidelined
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Defensive lineman Trevor Pryce will not play in the New York Jets’ game at Pittsburgh on Sunday because of an injured hip.
Pryce did not practice all week after suffering the injury in the Jets’ 10-6 loss to Miami last Sunday. Coach Rex Ryan said Friday he thinks Pryce could return next week, when the Jets (9-4) play at Chicago.
“We can probably get him at 60 percent or if we wait, we can get him at 100 percent to close out (the season),” Ryan said. “That’s how we looked at it.”
Pryce was signed in September after Baltimore cut him, and has three tackles and a sack, including a safety.
“He wants to play in the worst way,” Ryan said. “I don’t think he’s really ready to do that.”
Cornerback Darrelle Revis was limited in practice but is listed as probable with a sore right hamstring. Both Revis and Ryan said the All-Pro would be fine to play against the Steelers (10-3).
Safety James Ihedigbo is questionable while recovering from a high ankle sprain and knee injury.
Right tackle Damien Woody (right knee) and safety Eric Smith (concussion) had already been ruled out earlier in the week.