If there’s one guy who understands what Jonathan Martin is going through right now, it’s former NFL offensive lineman Shawn Andrews, who played with the Eagles from 2004-09 and the Giants in 2010. In an interview with Sync, an Arkansas-area magazine, Andrews opened up about his time in the Eagles locker room and his relationship with Donovan McNabb. Apparently, it wasn’t pretty — it was, in fact “a living hell.”
Andrews says the McNabb was an attention whore (our words, not his) that led the charge in degrading Andrews and spreading rumors about his sexual orientation. Andrews became so afraid of being pegged as gay (“the rumor could ruin a player’s earning potential”) that he stopped showering at the same time as the rest of the team, or would shower in a corner, facing the wall, so as not to be accused of peeping.
When the clique-filled, egotistical Eagles locker room finally got to Andrews in 2008 — and after he went to the coaching staff to voice his issues — he held out of training camp while being treated for depression. It had gotten to the point that Andrews was considering hurting himself and taking his life:
“But one time I had a crazy idea of flipping my car. I knew I didn’t want to kill myself because I wouldn’t use a gun. I was a coward in that regard. Because if I flip my vehicle and I’m paralyzed and I live … that’s the kind of stuff that went through my head. I was kind of at my wit’s end, but I was still afraid to talk to somebody. The very first person I opened up to was a paid psychiatrist. It was hard to do.”
When he finally returned to the team, he gave a speech explaining his absence in front of the whole roster:
“I poured my heart out. I’m not a public speaker, so I was nervous,” Andrews says. “But I felt it had to be done, so I was standing there talking, and in the middle of talking to them I was making eye contact with as many of the [players] as I could. So guess who was looking at me rolling his eyeballs? Can you guess who was doing that while I was pouring my heart out to my teammates? You know how that made me feel? … [McNabb] was rolling his eyes at me the whole time.”
Not a good look for McNabb. Especially when contrasted with Andrews’ only season in New York, blocking for Eli Manning:
“We were in the weight room the day after a game, stretching, and Eli [Manning] came up to me and said, ‘Shawn, thanks for protecting me,’” Andrews says. That never happened in Philadelphia. I had heard that Tom Brady bought his linemen Mercedes. That ‘thank you’ was my Mercedes. That meant a lot to me, but the entire organization was like that.”
Andrews now lives in Little Rock, where he describes his life with his wife and kids as happy, though lacking in good friends. The interview also details Andrews’ experiences with being bullied as a kid, and the whole thing is definitely worth a read.
Does this change your opinion of McNabb as a “leader” for the Eagles during the 2000s? It certainly throws his current loudmouth persona on Fox Sports 1 into a much different light. No wonder he had a hard time letting go of the game after his Philly days were over.
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