NFL quarterback and Syracuse legend Donovan McNabb was in South Bend Wednesday speaking at the College Football Hall of Fame's Gridiron Legends Luncheon Series, sponsored by Key Bank. He also visited kids at Memorial Hospital afterwards.
McNabb was a record setting quarterback at Syracuse and has had a successful career in the NFL as a 6-time pro bowl quarterback for the Eagles.
He spent last season with the Redskins and was benched for the final games of the year. Now there's a big question mark over where he will play next season. No one expects him to be back in Washington but with the lockout in place, McNabb isn't free to pick another team.
He remains in limbo.
"There's a lot of speculation right now," McNabb tells NewsCenter 16. "The only I can do is work on my craft and training myself. Wherever I may play, I'll be ready and look forward to a great season."
Perhaps the only question left regarding his tenure with the Redskins is if there's a possibility he can even be back there or whether that ship has completely sailed.
"We don't know," McNabb said. "We don't know. If I happen to go back, I'll make sure I lead the team the way I'm supposed to and If I'm not, wherever I'm moving on, do the same thing."
WNDU Sports Director Jeff Jeffers served as the Emcee for Wednesday's luncheon. He and McNabb talked about Donovan's days at Syracuse and his battles with Michigan.
McNabb says that was a special game because it was the closest he ever got to playing near home. McNabb is a Chicago native and his parents were at the luncheon.
The Orange quarterback led his team against co-defending national champion Michigan in 1998 against Tom Brady. In front of a then record 111,000 plus fans at the Big House, McNabb and company jumped out to a 38-7 lead before backups made the final 38-28 outcome look closer than the game was.
McNabb also talked about not being recruited much coming out of high school and that Nebraska and Syracuse were the only main offers.
"How did you not make it through South Bend on a visit?" Jeffers jokingly questioned McNabb.
Ask Lou Holtz, McNabb joked. Pointing out that the Irish only flirted with the future all pro for a few weeks.
"That wasn't on me," McNabb said with a big smile."
After the luncheon, McNabb visited the pediatric unit at Memorial Hospital along with Princeton running back Jordan Culbreath. Culbreath is the Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion, for his remarkable recovery from aplastic amenia.
Culbreath will graduate with honors from Princeton in two weeks. It was just two years ago, when he thought his career was over when his disease was discovered. But he made a dramatic return this season to play for the Tigers during his senior campaign.
McNabb says its important to visit kids and let them know you are thinking about them during what is obviously very tough times for them.
"They have a lot of things they have to go through," McNabb explains. "Whether its blood transfusions, surgeries or just constantly being checked by doctors. It's on the hour by the hour."
"These kids had a smile on their face when we were able to walk in and that's joy to my heart."
McNabb's South Bend visit happened at the same time that boxer Bernhard Hopkins was ripping the former Orange standout for that softer side.
Hopkins said in Philadelphia Wednesday that McNabb had too easy of an upbringing and wasn't tough enough.
Hopkins did say McNabb was a nice guy and that he would trust him with his kids, however.
The next Gridiron Legends Luncheon Series for the Hall of Fame is on June 28th with 2-time Heisman Winner Archie Griffin.