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D. McNabb keeps getting back up

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As Philadelphia Eagles fans “welcomed” him with a lusty chorus of boos, newly drafted quarterback Donovan McNabb must have questioned his debut to the National Football League.

“I hadn’t even taken a snap and they were on me,” says the Eagles top draft pick of 2000, whose selection die-hard Eagles fans, um, disagreed with.

“But you learn from playing quarterback that there are times when you are going to get knocked down. The key is to get up and turn a negative into a positive.”

So he did. He led the Eagles to three straight NFC championship games, and once threw four touchdown passes playing an entire half on a fractured leg. He also earned four consecutive invitations to the NFL’s all-star game, the Pro Bowl.

His stick-to-itiveness paid off, and now, McNabb stands among the most popular athletes in the nation, along with cyclist Lance Armstrong, golfer Tiger Woods and baseball shortstop Derek Jeter.

McNabb consciously decided to become a leader and credits his father:

“He said, whether I liked it or not, I would become a role model and it was up to me to decide which kind of role model I would be.”

That’s a lesson for every leader.

— Adapted from “Model Athlete: Donovan McNabb,” Scott Pitoniak, Syracuse University Magazine.

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