He reminds everyone that Donovan McNabb is 33, not 103.
It is worth remembering that Shanahan's history with quarterbacks age 30 or older includes three Super Bowl championships.
"When I came to Denver, John Elway had already played for 12 seasons and was 34 years old,'' Shanahan said on Friday morning in a telephone interview from his office at Redskins Park. "I got him for years 13, 14, 15 and 16. I felt good about that. I felt going into it I had a minimum of three to four years with him and maybe five. Ending it with two Super Bowl titles made that a good connection.
"When I was in San Francisco (as offensive coordinator from 1992-1994) and coached Steve Young, he turned 34 the year we won the Super Bowl. I almost brought him back to Denver three or four years after he had his last concussion. If not for the concussions, the way he took care of his body, I think he could have still played. Donovan is 33. Age is not a factor.''
And neither was the fact that Shanahan said he had never previously met McNabb.
He had simply observed the quarterback over his 11-season career and the times his teams had played against him and "felt like I knew him.'' Shanahan said he admired the way McNabb handled himself with class after games "answering some tough questions'' and handling "some tough situations.''
McNabb is an exception when it comes to veteran players who work like rookies, Shanahan said.
"Really, I do understand a bit of what people are talking about when it comes to some veterans,'' Shanahan said. "In that way, the NFL is in some ways a young man's game. You look at a lot of positions, like running back. They're going to get beat up. There is a time for that thought of youth but it is not necessarily the case for the veteran guy that takes care of himself and can play at a longer level. You're always looking for that type of guy.''
Shanahan said he first visited with Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid about McNabb "nearly a month ago.''
"I didn't think they would trade him in the division,'' Shanahan said. "I didn't think it would materialize. Bruce Allen (Washington's general manager) took it from there and sometimes a trade helps both teams. This one does.''
For the Eagles, they inserted Kevin Kolb at quarterback after his three-season grooming and moved McNabb before the final year of his contract to ensure they gained value. For the Redskins, an experienced and talented quarterback was grabbed who coaches and the players can lean on.
Here is what Shanahan had to say on these subjects:
On trading Albert Haynesworth: "There is nothing to clarify. It is just speculation. He's part of the organization. I am just looking for him to come in and work and be like everyone else. No, we're not going to trade him at all, unless someone gives us something we would have to consider -- that's pretty standard with any player on your roster. He's a pretty smart guy. He's really talented. I think I can get that out of him.''
On Tim Tebow: "He was in here on Thursday. I think the guy is such a competitor. Wherever he ends up playing he will do a good job. He is such a worker. How are you going to use him? How long will you give him to develop? He is such an athlete. You know he is going to work. Maybe you put him on special teams. He has the size of a linebacker or tight end. He is not afraid of hitting people. It's a way to use him more and early on the 45-man roster. I wouldn't hesitate to do that.''
On signing running backs Willie Parker and Larry Johnson when the Redskins already have Clinton Portis: "It's competition. We got rid of five running backs on the roster who we thought really could not help us because of the style of the offense and the history of the zone blocking scheme. We think these guys can help us. They will compete to see which one actually does it.''
Shanahan said that each day since his hiring on Jan. 6 has been a process in deciding "how do we become a better football team?'' He said this is a ``typical'' first year when you are evaluating everything.''
The McNabb move to Washington was not typical.
The reverberations are still trickling across the NFL and among the Redskins.
"More important than the coaches, the players here feel it,'' Shanahan said. "They have a guy around them as a leader now who has done it in terms of his touchdown/interceptions and winning percentage. They see already how he practices. How he handles himself with the team. That means a lot here.''
View from the Bay Area
Those were among the reasons the Oakland Raiders were interested in McNabb.
Raiders sources say that the Eagles contacted the Raiders about a McNabb trade and that is how discussions were generated. The Raiders thought they had McNabb before he slipped through to Washington.
Now the Raiders appear settled on at least one more season of JaMarcus Russell at quarterback. One more year with more emphasis on a sink-or-swim, get-it-done-or-bite-the-bullet approach with Russell.
Russell is considered in Oakland the primary issue, a talented quarterback who for whatever reasons has not connected with his coaches and teammates and has shut it down when troubled.
That makes new Raiders offensive coordinator Hue Jackson the coach in the entire NFL this fall who has the greatest challenge.
Jackson arrived from the Baltimore Ravens staff and was told by people that know Russell well that he had to build trust with Russell, that he had to enlist the help of Russell's closest family members in his hometown of Mobile, Ala., and that he had to be tough and challenging with Russell.
The Raiders say so far, so good. That the Jackson/Russell connection is building early momentum and results.
A Raiders executive, requesting anonymity, said: "There has been such a lack of confidence in this team as a whole. The intangibles need to be rebuilt. It's awful. The great teams go out there and know they will win; the good teams think they can, the average teams hope they can and the bottom ones hope they don't lose too badly. I don't think it's bottom now for us. But we have to develop an attitude, a belief as a team and organization of winning thinking and preparation. That has to come from JaMarcus and from his position. It's his job to lose. He is aware of that.''
Look for the Raiders to give Russell help by drafting an offensive lineman with their first-round pick at No -8. The Raiders will also look for defensive linemen in the draft and, yes, wide receivers.
They are still looking for that big-play threat that makes defenses focus on that one player, opening things for others. Maybe running back Darren McFadden can do it. Maybe Darrius Heyward-Bey -- the Raiders surprise draft pick at No.-7 last year -- can still be that guy. The Raiders, certainly, will draft another candidate for the job.
And count on Russell growing up and helping lift up his team.