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OB/GYN Free To Practice His Love With Women Due To Bad Curl Route

Were we really one errant pass during a scrimmage away from delaying the start of the Donovan McNabb Era and altering the course of Syracuse football forever? Lindsey Kramer's article in the Post-Standard this weekend says that just maybe, just maybe, we have an ill-advised, intercepted pass intended for Marvin Harrison to thank for McNabb's ascension to the starting role as a freshman.

[Keith] Downing was a sophomore quarterback at the time, in a dead-even heat with redshirt freshmen Kevin Johnson and Donovan McNabb. The scrimmage was the final one before SU's opener vs. North Carolina, and would most likely decide the Orange's starter under center.

On Downing's first series, he threw a pass to Harrison on what the quarterback thought was supposed to be a curl route. Harrison, correctly running an out pattern, was nowhere near the ball. Syracuse defensive back Jason Poles was, though, and picked off the pass.

Downing, typically the steadiest of the three prospects, had a bad scrimmage. Johnson, a flashy runner, did too. McNabb was very good, just as he was in the previous spring game. Then-SU coach Paul Pasqualoni got the inkling that maybe this McNabb guy was a prime-time player, and gave him the nod for UNC.

The rest as they say, is history. McNabb went on to become Big East rookie of the year, lead the Orange to a 9-3 record and a Gator Bowl victory. Then, well, we all know where McNabb went from there. Kevin Johnson converted to WR and had a solid career in the NFL. But what about Downing? Well in true Moonlight Graham fashion, he became a doctor.

Despite a tryout offer with the CFL, Downing turned it down and went to medical school. Today he's a OB/GYN at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston where he probably does far more to better the world than if he were still suiting up for the CFL's Ottawa Rough Riders, Saskatchewan Roughriders or any other riders, rough or otherwise.