“When it comes to facing ridiculously high expectations, Warren Moon can relate to Kevin Kolb.
In 1985, the rebuilding Houston Oilers gambled on Moon’s cannon right arm and burgeoning legend when they signed him away from the Canadian Football League, where he’d led Edmonton to five straight championships.
They made him the league’s highest-paid quarterback before he’d thrown his first NFL pass, sending a clear and powerful message to his teammates that a new sheriff had arrived.
“Nobody knew who I was,” Moon recalled. “Now, all of a sudden, this guy’s coming to Houston — an African-American at the same time; the only African-American quarterback in the league in ’85. There was a lot of pressure put on me coming from a franchise (that went) 2-14 the year before.”
Moon can sense the tremendous burden of anticipation surrounding Kolb, who on Monday begins his first training camp at Lehigh University as the new face of the Philadelphia Eagles. For 11 years, that distinction belonged to Donovan McNabb — before the team dealt the six-time Pro Bowl quarterback to Washington this offseason, capping a movement toward youth that spanned 24 months.
Kolb, a 2007 second-round pick, waited three years for the keys to Andy Reid’s offense. His ascent to McNabb’s throne is one of the major storylines across the NFL for the 2010 season.
It’s also a make-or-break promotion that eventually will reflect on the tenures of Reid, McNabb and Eagles management, and it will stir great debate across the Delaware Valley for years to come.”