May 20, 2015
In a bit of a Sixers-ian public relations move, Syracuse University has decided to un-retire the number 44 from their football program. Basically, players can now wear that number again after it was off-limits for about 17 years. In 1998, the number was retired specifically to honor three very well-known All-American running backs that rocked 44 during the 1950's and 1960's: Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, and Floyd Little. You know, when Syracuse was legitimately pretty good at football.
Little and Brown publicly support the move to bring the number back to the program (Davis, the subject of "The Express," passed away in 1962). The plan going forward is for Syracuse to treat the number specially and bestow it upon players that meet certain qualifications. It's also not like the former greats' legacy is going anywhere. Syracuse also announced that all three players will have statues built in their likeness at the team's new practice facility.
One guy who isn't happy about all of this? Maybe Syracuse's most famous quarterback, a guy that famously both wore the number five in college and with the Eagles. Take it away, Donovan:
It bothers me to see the decision being made by my alma mater to u retire the legendary 44. The great RBs who wore the number put SU on the— Donovan McNabb (@donovanjmcnabb) May 20, 2015
Map. What message are we sending across college football and to the football world that it's ok to un retire such history that was so strong— Donovan McNabb (@donovanjmcnabb) May 20, 2015
That a movie was made about one of our great RBs in Ernie Davis. No one should be rewarded in wearing that number. Do u see other schools— Donovan McNabb (@donovanjmcnabb) May 20, 2015
Taking numbers down from the raffters for any reason at all. I think it is totally disrespectful to those who have worn it and for those who— Donovan McNabb (@donovanjmcnabb) May 20, 2015
Who wore the mighty Blue and Orange. It was retired in 05 for a reason. Which it should have been done along time before then.— Donovan McNabb (@donovanjmcnabb) May 20, 2015
Well, there you have it. McNabb is clearly bothered by the move. After doing some quick research, it seems like the former Eagles quarterback only has his jersey retired by his alma mater, not his number. In fact, if Wikipedia is to be trusted, 44 was the only number previously retired by Syracuse. In comparison, McNabb deservedly is one of nine Eagles that has his number retired.