ASHBURN, Va. — Donovan McNabb felt disrespected by the way he was benched by Redskins coach Mike Shanahan.
"Everything was handled awkwardly," McNabb said Tuesday on his weekly radio show.
Making his first public comments since his demotion last week, McNabb said he strongly disagreed with the decision, but he has a bigger problem with the way he says the organization leaked the news to the media before informing him.
"Because of the timing and because of all the leaks and everything that was put out there, and no putting out the fire, so to speak," McNabb said, "I'm hearing everything through the media."
Shanahan waited until Thursday evening to tell McNabb that Rex Grossman would be the starter for the rest of the season, though rumblings of a switch had been circulating.
"I was pulled back by it. All of a sudden you get this news a couple of days before the game, you do feel somewhat disrespected," McNabb said. "You could have told me earlier or at least prepared me for it. … The term I did use was professional. You would like to hear it early, and if you hear it late, it kind of throws off the preparation for a lot of guys."
McNabb said he wasn't even aware that he was being demoted to No. 3 quarterback for the final two games until Shanahan announced the move to reporters the next day.
As for the benching, McNabb conceded he's had a tough year, but he said he felt he had made enough progress in his first season in the Redskins offense to give the team something to build on. Shanahan said he benched McNabb because the team had been eliminated from the playoffs and he wanted to evaluate Grossman and John Beck.
McNabb signed an extension last month, but it contains a clause that allows the team to release him before next season without further financial obligations. McNabb said he did not think his relationship with Shanahan is permanently damaged and that he hopes to return next season.
"I think we can do some good things here."
Bucs claim safety: The Bucs plucked rookie safety Dominique Harris off the Bills practice squad, giving him the roster spot once occupied by safety Vince Anderson, who was released. Anderson had been promoted from the Bucs' practice squad after Cody Grimm was lost for the season. Harris had nine interceptions in his career at Temple, where he earned All-Mid-American Conference honors twice.
Ex-Giants rips away: Former Giant and current Fox analyst Michael Strahan criticized the team's effort and intensity in the fourth quarter of its 38-31 loss, saying "they should be ashamed of themselves" and that the team lacks "killer instinct." The Giants allowed a 31-10 lead to slip away before the Eagles scored the winning touchdown on a 65-yard punt return by DeSean Jackson as time expired.
"You look at that game and wonder how it got out of hand for the Giants," the former defensive end said in comments distributed by Fox. "They got soft and relaxed. They thought 'We got it.' "
Bears: After a 40-14 romp outdoors at Minnesota on a cold and snowy Monday night, the Bears (10-4) are headed back to the playoffs for the first time since their run to the 2007 Super Bowl. Now, they'll try to lock down a first-round playoff bye.
"This is our first goal of the season: win the division and get in the playoffs," tight end Greg Olsen said. "Now we've got to win out these last two games (Jets, Packers) to give ourselves the best possibility of getting a first-round bye."
A win over the Jets coupled with a loss by Philadelphia and a loss or tie by the Giants would give Chicago that bye.
Bengals: Terrell Owens was placed on season-ending injured reserve a day after the receiver had surgery to repair cartilage in his left knee. Owens hurt the knee a couple of weeks ago, played on it, then aggravated it Sunday.
Broncos: Linebacker Kevin Alexander pleaded not guilty to charges of assault and battery stemming from an alleged domestic dispute with his girlfriend. He was released hours after the Monday arrest, the team calling it a football decision to clear a spot for cornerback Chevis Jackson.
Cowboys: Injured quarterback Tony Romo (broken left collarbone) was put on injured reserve, eliminating any chance of him playing against Arizona or Philadelphia. Interim coach Jason Garrett had indicated Romo would try to practice, but the IR move was announced before the club hit the field. Jon Kitna will start the final two games.
49ers: Coach Mike Singletary has made up his mind on who will start at quarterback vs. the Rams, he's just not saying. He hinted both Alex Smith and Troy Smith might play.
Vikings: Interim coach Leslie Frazier said he would not put quarterback Brett Favre on season-ending injured reserve with a concussion. Favre was knocked out of the Bears game on a second-quarter sack. Frazier said it was unlikely Favre, 41, could recover to play Sunday at Philadelphia, but he wouldn't rule out Favre's return for the finale at Detroit. If Favre cannot play, rookie Joe Webb will start.
Times staff writer Stephen F. Holder contributed to this report.