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The day Dan Marino almost joined the Raiders

Perhaps the biggest story in the NFL this past week has centered on the possible trade of Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb.

Adam Schefter of ESPN has reported the Oakland Raiders are currently the leading candidates to trade for McNabb, a quarterback that has been to five NFC title games and one Super Bowl. And I would tell you there is precedence for the Raiders looking to make a big splash with a quarterback trade and that can be traced to Miami in 1990.

That's right, the Raiders once tried to trade for a pretty good Dolphins quarterback.

Dan Marino.

And they almost pulled it off.

This is nothing new that I am reporting to you. I've reported this fact previously. In fact in the mid to late 1990s when I first wrote it, I took a lot of heat from local sports talk radio because the hosts simply didn't believe the report.

Hank Goldberg, then on WQAM in South Florida, called me out on it on air. Goldberg had a relationship with Al Davis back in the day and promised his listeners he'd ask Davis about the veracity of my story over their next lunch. Goldberg never mentioned the issue again on the air that I know of, but he did confess to me once that he did indeed check with Davis.

And obviously, Davis confirmed the story.

What exactly is the story?

Well, on Dec. 26, 1989, Don Shula held his day-after press conference following the regular-season finale loss to Kansas City on Christmas eve. The Dolphins finished the year 8-8 and out of the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season.

Back then, missing the playoffs was a sin for Shula's team so there was obvious concern that Miami needed to do something dynamic to change direction. Shula wanted back in the playoffs and the idea of trading Dan Marino was starting to gain traction among fans.

Well, one reporter asked Shula if he might consider such a trade.

"I don't ... My actions aren't governed by ..." Shula stumbled as if surprised.

Then he recovered and said, "Furtherest thing from my mind."

But it got closer to Shula mind later in the offseason when the Miami coach and Davis started discussing a Marino blockbuster.

Shula, only the winningest coach in NFL history, not only considered the trade, but nearly took the step. The reason Marino didn't play his final decade in silver and black is because Shula and Davis came to an agreement on the trade and then Shula increased his asking price not once but twice.

[Mid-morning update: You probably want the details of the trade, right? You'll have to buy the book for that.]

Davis, who thought he had a deal for Marino at one point, balked at the final lopsided proposal from Miami.

Why am I telling you this? Well, the story still intrigues me because of the enormous personalities involved. The history and fortunes of two elite franchises might have changed had this trade gone down.

I'm also repeating the story because the story broke in the mid 1990s during an age when information still flew below the Internet radar. It is not widely known to this day.

Finally, I'm recounting the tale because I've heard from several people that they cannot believe the Eagles would consider trading an all-timer like McNabb. 

Well, believe it.

If the Dolphins could almost trade Marino, the Eagles can certainly consider trading McNabb.

[BLOG NOTE: The NFL preseason schedule is supposed to be released today. So check back throughout the day for that and any other updates that might might present themselves.]   

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