Virgen: Football for a good cause

Char McNabb doesn't mind talking about her son, Donovan.

If you mention there's a chance Donovan could be headed to the Hall of Fame, she'll tell you, "Of course. I feel that he is, from a mother's perspective. And, he's such a nice guy."

If you ask her if she was really the one starring in all those Chunky Soup commercials with Donovan she'll tell you yes and more.

"That was a lot of fun," she said while at a charity event in Newport Beach Saturday. "We were the longest running mother-and-son team for Chunky's for 6 years."

Char also doesn't hesitate when talking about last year, when Donovan endured a rough season, including a benching in his first season with the Washington Redskins after so many big years with the Philadelphia Eagles.

"That last season, it was like a blur to me," she said.

She'd rather look toward the future. She said she sees better days ahead for her son. They didn't talk about it much while in Orange County last week. Whatever takes place, Char will be cheering for her son on the football field.

Last week, however, the roles were reversed. Donovan McNabb cheered for his mother. He also gave her a few pointers as she played in a charity flag football game that featured the NFL mothers vs. the NBA moms at Tustin High.

Char is the president of the Professional Football Players Mothers Assn. She played a little. Saturday night, she wore a beautiful dress to celebrate her team's 14-0 win against the NBA moms.

Everyone was having fun, and they were raising money for Talk About Curing Autism, which is based in Costa Mesa, as well as at-risk youth programs.

The flag football game and Saturday's gala event at the Hyatt Regency Newport helped raise $40,000.

I attended Saturdays' event and was hoping to meet Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson. News had just broke that Jackson used a gay slur while on a radio show recently. I wanted to get his thoughts on the reaction.

Unfortunately Jackson never showed up. (He later apologized on Twitter and via a statement.)

I interviewed DeShaun Foster instead. His mother, Cheryl, was a co-chair of the events.

Foster, the former Carolina Panthers running back who played at UCLA and starred at Tustin High, participated in Friday's flag football game as a referee. The game will always be a part of his life.

DeShaun said he is thinking to get back into coaching. If he does, he says he'll start working at his alma mater with Coach Myron Miller, a former head man at Costa Mesa High.

Until then, he was happy to help out with the charity events.

I could only spend an hour at the charity event Saturday, because I also attended the Newport Beach Breakers match, which featured Pete Sampras andMartina Hingis.

Before I left, I had the pleasure of meeting Shaquille O'Neal's mother, Lucille Harrison. She said the NBA players' mothers group has been active since 1996. Last year, the NBA mothers beat the NFL moms in a charity basketball game in Orlando.

She said the great thing about the charity work is that they can do it anytime. It hardly matters that there is a lockout on the NBA. The NFL is inching closer toward ending its labor struggles with the players.

"That has nothing to do with us," said Harrison, who was also signing copies of her new book, "Walk Like You Have Somewhere To Go." "We're a mother's organization. We don't work for those leagues."

They worked to helped TACA and at-risk youth instead.

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