Gonzo: Eagles starting quarterback Kevin Kolb, R.I.P.

He who was the starter shall be the backup: Eagles quarterbacks Michael Vick (left) and Kevin Kolb on the sideline.
He who was the starter shall be the backup: Eagles quarterbacks Michael Vick (left) and Kevin Kolb on the sideline.
Posted: September 27, 2010

Eagles starting quarterback Kevin Kolb - who grew from humble, hog-hunting roots into a man anointed by Andy Reid and the organization as the heir to a kingdom with no crown - is dead. He passed away not long after executing his duties as team leader and the face of the franchise for less than a half of one football game.

He is survived by anger, betrayal, pity, and doubt, as well as his immediate relative, Eagles backup quarterback Kevin Kolb - a man who bears a striking resemblance to his kin but who recently suffered a horrible setback in life that left him cut off at the knees.

The sad and shameful end for starting quarterback Kevin Kolb came quickly and in full view of a public that turned against him as hastily as it had once propped him up. Kolb, who was fed a daily regimen of powerful confidence boosters by his fawning employers, looked vital only a few weeks ago. But after getting a concussion in the season opener against Green Bay, things suddenly looked grim for the signal-caller. He was weakened further by the reemergence and exceptional play of Michael Vick, in addition to the attendant national debate that germinated while he was convalescing.

Starting quarterback Kevin Kolb officially succumbed to his fate in Jacksonville, Fla., on Sunday as Vick led the Eagles to a convincing 28-3 victory over the Jaguars. He died of embarrassment after being asked to warm up during garbage time in the fourth quarter.

From Kolb's bedside earlier in the week, Reid promised everyone that the young man would recover and reclaim his job. But just as Reid once gave Kolb his football life, the head coach took it away and unexpectedly pulled the plug on his progeny. Some thought it was the humane and decent thing to do; others were aghast and recoiled.

While Kolb's demise came as a shock to some - Fox announcers Ron Pitts and John Lynch called it a "bombshell" - others weren't as surprised. Kolb's one-time tutor found it predictable.

"That's Philadelphia," Donovan McNabb said on his weekly radio show upon learning Kolb had been buried by the Eagles. "Things like that happen. I've been a part of that for 11 years and, obviously, as you see, it just doesn't stop."

Reid has instructed the fans and media not to mourn Kolb. He said Kolb is in a better place now and promised that the quarterback's "time will come."

Reid is a religious man, but it's hard to imagine Kolb being resurrected here in Philly after everything that's happened over the last few weeks. Even if Kolb could pull off the improbable, would he feel comfortable working for a man and a franchise that's throwing a Vick celebration on Kolb's grave?

It would almost certainly be better for Kolb and his confidence if the resurrection - if it comes at all - occurs in some other town, far removed from Philly's pressure and the head coach who emasculated him and then spun it to the press and the fans as a mercy killing.

In the interim, while we wait to see if Kolb will rise from his football tomb, we're left to wonder what might have been had the starting quarterback's time not been cut short.

One of Kolb's closest confidants remembered him fondly and had this to say about the dearly departed: "He went out as he lived: on the sideline, wearing a hat instead of a helmet."

May he rest in peace.

PhillyPhaithful.com has appropriated my "It's Always Shady in Philadelphia" idea and turned it into a T-shirt, as predicted. I'll receive no money from the operation. That's the bad news. The good news is that $5 from every shirt sold will be donated to the American Cancer Society. . . . Tweet of the game: "Really glad I'm not playing the every time Kevin Kolb is shown on the sidelines you drink game" from @foobooz. . . . "Pot Roast" might be the best nickname in sports. Jags defensive lineman Terrance Knighton should pull a World B. Free and have it changed legally. . . . If you own a Kolb jersey, will you still rock it with pride or do you stick it in the back of your closet and wear your disappointment to the Linc instead? . . . Currently getting more hype: Michael Vick or Boardwalk Empire?...Weekly Ask Gonzo chat returns to Philly.com on Monday at 2 p.m. . . . In a twist no one expected - least of all me or the critics - this column recently celebrated its two-year anniversary. As a present, the boss has at long last rid the page of the awful floating face picture that doubled as the letter "o" in my name and served as the punch line for so many easy jokes. It's been replaced with the new graphic you see here - which will serve as the punch line for (different) easy jokes. To borrow and recast an old phrase: Off with my head. . . . Finally, Donovan McNabb returns to town this weekend. Probably won't get much coverage.

Contact columnist John Gonzalez at 215-854-2813 or gonzalez@phillynews.com.

Follow him on Twitter: www.twitter.com/gonzophilly

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