DETROIT -- Still recovering mentally and physically from the most difficult season of his NFL career, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb said Tuesday afternoon that his rehabilitation from sports hernia surgery is "going great" and that he expects to participate in the team's offseason program.
"I've been rehabilitating for the last four to six weeks and I've taken big strides," said McNabb, after making a promotional appearance in conjunction with Super Bowl week. "The good thing about this is that we have some time. I don't have to rush things. So it's just a matter of going through the process. [But] it should be fine."
The Eagles' star underwent surgery, performed by Dr. William Meyers at the Hahnemann Hospital in Philadelphia, on Nov. 28. He was off his feet for three weeks following the procedure and has been rehabilitating ever since at the team's NovaCare Complex. At some point in the next few weeks, McNabb said, he will go to Arizona, where he usually spends his offseasons, and continue his recovery there.
McNabb, 29, looked fit during an appearance that also featured Pittsburgh running back Jerome Bettis and the mothers of the two players. Notable, though, is that McNabb did not run onto the stage area when he was introduced, as did the others. He walked out slowly, but seemed to move well while participating in some of the "competitions" that were a part of the promotion.
In what was an injury-plagued season, McNabb appeared in only nine games in 2005, and completed 211 of 357 passes for 2,507 yards, with 16 touchdown passes, nine interceptions and an efficiency rating of 85.0. It is believed he first sustained the sports hernia injury in training camp, at which point Dr. Meyers began to monitor it, and the situation just got progressively worse.
The last appearance for McNabb in 2005 was the Monday night home loss to Dallas on Nov. 14, a game in which he was blocked to the ground by Cowboys linebacker Bradie James as safety Roy Williams returned an interception for the game-winning touchdown. Shortly after that, McNabb was placed on injured reserve, and then he had the surgery two weeks later.
"That was the game where I just couldn't do it anymore," McNabb said. "There is a difference between being injured and being hurt and, in that game, I was hurt. I tore four tendons in my groin. I always felt like nothing could stop me from achieving my goals, but that injury did."
McNabb emphasized he is ready to resume his role as the Eagles' leader and help the club rebound from a dismal 6-10 record. Philadelphia finished last in the NFC East in 2005 after winning the division the four previous seasons and advancing to Super Bowl XXXIX in 2004.
"We all know what happened [last year]," McNabb said. "Individually, it's my role to establish with my teammates that I'm around and I'm working hard. But it's going to take all of us understanding what happened to us last year to get [back on track]."
Asked about reports that personal nemesis Terrell Owens visited with Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan on Monday, McNabb called the recalcitrant wide receiver "a great player. If he goes [to Denver], the people there should be excited." But when asked what kind of advice he might provide Jake Plummer if Denver was to acquire Owens in a trade or perhaps in free agency, McNabb said any such counsel would remain between he and the Broncos' quarterback.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here.