It’s fortunate for the media that Donovan McNabb‘s return to Philadelphia is providing all of this hoopla and fanfare for this week’s game, because one of the traditional go-to stories for Eagles Week has come to a quiet, largely unheralded end.
I’ll let Gary Fitzgerald of Redskins.com sum up what I’m talking about with this excerpt from a July 2009 piece:
Every time something is written about Byron Westbrook, there is usually a mention that he is the brother of Brian Westbrook.
For example, when the Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles, Byron usually becomes a focus that week because he mimics Brian–a Pro Bowl running back for the Eagles–on the scout team during practice.
But Brian Westbrook is no longer on the Philadelphia Eagles. So yesterday, when the outsized media corps got tired of asking people for quotes about Donovan McNabb’s return, they didn’t bother with Byron Westbrook. Instead, the scout team questions were for Brandon Banks, who will be portraying Michael Vick in practice. Westbrook has largely been ignored, so when I saw him today, sitting alone at his locker, I asked how he felt about this change.
“It’s all good,” he said. “Wasn’t a big deal to answer those type of questions in the past, though.”
Westbrook followed up by going into his own version of the it’s-a-game-on-the-schedule rhetoric that McNabb’s been falling back on all week: “Just another game. It was just another game last year, just with a brother on the opposite sideline. But it’s always a division game that we need to win, and we could be 2-2 but 2-0 in the division. Last year my brother was on the sideline, but other than that this year’s still the same.”
And then, because it’s what you do this week if you’re asking questions of Redskins players, I asked if he had offered McNabb any tips for fielding incessant media questions about a sideline aspect of the game like this one.
“Nah. He’s a pro,” Westbrook said, shrugging. “He’s been in the league for years, so he knows what to say, what to do, but his heart’s gonna be thumping real loud for this game.”
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