Former defensive end Hugh Douglas told radio station WIP that McNabb isn't the type of man to lead the Eagles, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
"The thing that Donovan needs -- it's been proven, especially this year -- he needs other people to lead," Douglas told the radio station. "He's not a leader. He doesn't want to lead. He is the leader on the field as a quarterback; he isn't a team leader. He needs a good supporting cast."
Contacted Wednesday night by the Inquirer, the 34-year-old Douglas modified the statement about McNabb, but only slightly.
"In order to be a leader, you have to be in people's face; if that is what you think, he isn't that guy," Douglas told the paper. "Donovan will lead on the football field, and if you need him to give a Vince Lombardi speech, he won't."
Douglas said that he contacted McNabb after the radio interview and the quarterback was fine with what Douglas said when he explained the context.
Douglas also suggested on the radio show that radical changes would be needed to address the lack of leadership.
"At some point, [head coach Andy Reid] is going to have to go in that locker room and make it like Beirut again, to be totally honest," Douglas told WIP. "It's obvious right now that the guys who he thinks are leaders aren't his leaders, and the young guys aren't ready to lead."
Eagles cornerback Sheldon Brown disagreed with Douglas' assessment.
"To me, that is disrespecting guys he played with," Brown told the Inquirer on Wednesday night. "How can you say guys like Brian Dawkins or Jon Runyan aren't leaders? It's a comment that doesn't speak fairly to guys we have in the locker room, and I think that is just radio talk.
"I don't care what Hugh says," Brown continued to the paper. "Quite frankly, the guys I am playing with I trust, and I trust the leaders we have. I am around them every day, and Hugh isn't around them every day."