Syracuse will retire Donovan McNabb’s jersey during the Wake Forest football game this upcoming season. McNabb tweeted out the news Saturday during his visit to the Hill for commencement weekend. Although the university has not commented on the news, it is expected that McNabb’s jersey, not number will be retired. This means players will still be able to wear the #5, similar to John Mackey’s #88.
McNabb was a living legend during his time, starting all four years and setting the single-season SU record with 2,892 total yards during his junior season. He also led the team to bowls every single year including the Orange Bowl during the 1998 season. It is no surprise the Board of Trustees, which McNabb is on, decided to give Donovan the distinguished honor. McNabb put up record numbers during his time, and had SU football ranked each year. He also had an iconic moment etched in time: a TD pass to Stephen Brominski with time expiring against Virginia Tech at the Dome.
Now an analyst on the NFL Network, McNabb has time to reconnect with the school and surrounding community. It’s a good sign for the program to see notable alumni such as McNabb spend a weekend in Syracuse and reminisce over good memories. The program is still hungry for donations, especially from prominent NFL players to fund the plans for the upcoming facility. With SU sending more players to the pros this year, Orange Nation should feel good about the recent alumni relations.
There has been a push in recent years to celebrate the rich Orange football past, with SU finally getting out of the dark ages of the Groobers’ Error and moving into the ACC. It doesn’t hurt that Doc Gross never met a retirement ceremony he didn’t love. Who should be in consideration to have their jersey hanging from the rafters next?
- Don McPherson
McPherson was the face of the 1987 undefeated team and finished in 2nd in the Heisman voting. He also won the Maxwell Award and threw for 5,952 total yards during his time at SU. McPherson has spoken at pep rallies and has had given back to Syracuse. He’s a recognizable face as a college football analyst for SNY. #9 is going to be in strong consideration for future years.
- Marvin Harrison
Harrison hauled in 135 receptions and 20 TDs for the Orange as a 3-year starter. He brought dynamic speed in the early ‘90s and went on to have a Hall of Fame-caliber career with the Indianapolis Colts. Harrison could be in line for a retired jersey, highlighted by his Orange record for total receiving yards of 2,728. The one hurdle might be his connection to the shootings in Philadelphia back in ’09. He’s kept a low public profile since then, and is a notoriously private person. But he was inducted into the Colts ring of honor in ’11.
- Dwight Freeney
Freeney was the captain of the defense, setting an Orange record with 34 career sacks. He also accumulated 17.5 sacks in just his senior season alone. SU has not had too many premier pass rushers in their coveted history, so Freeney could be given the honor to represent the defensive side of the ball. He’s become the Godfather of the Orange in the NFL, now that McNabb has retired. He’s still without a team, so as his career winds down he’d likely have more time to spend with SU events.
Posted: Zephan Mayell