Nick Eatman DallasCowboys.com Staff Writer May 18, 2004, 6:28 p.m. (CDT) PLANO, Texas - Twice a year, they're the biggest of enemies. Two opposing leaders trying to out-duel each other on the field, and in one of the NFL's biggest rivalries. But in an elementary school gymnasium in late May, Quincy Carter and Donovan McNabb are on the same team. In fact, other than the two games a year in which the Cowboys and Eagles face off, McNabb and Carter are the best of friends. The two quarterbacks teamed up together Tuesday at Gulledge Elementary here in suburban Dallas to kick off "Take A Player To School," a national campaign sponsored by JCPenney and the NFL encouraging young people to stay in school and participate in after-school programs. "It was a little weird," Carter said of siding up with McNabb, one of his best friends among NFL players. "But anytime me and Donovan can get on the same team to help with an after-school program like this, we want to be involved. "But we're only going to be teammates for the day, and it was a lot of fun. We wanted to come out and give our spirits and tell kids that it doesn't just happen at school, but after school is where a lot of things get taken care of." And the same could be said in the NFL, where players such as Carter and McNabb take care of their bodies, not only during the season, but in the off-season. Despite being quarterbacks on division rivals, the two have developed a solid friendship, one tight enough to bring two quarterbacks together in Arizona for a two-week conditioning program later this summer. "It's something he's been doing for a while now," Carter said of McNabb's training. "Maybe it can help us get into the NFC Championship Game." That is where McNabb and the Eagles have arrived the past three seasons, although they have yet to reach the Super Bowl. But Philadelphia is still one of the league's top teams, and adding free agent superstars such as wide receiver Terrell Owens and defensive end Jevon Kearse have made the Eagles an early Super Bowl favorite. That might be, however, the upcoming NFL season seemed to be the furthest thing from McNabb's mind. While the Eagles Pro Bowl quarterback will gladly utilize Owens this year to hopefully enhance the Eagles offense, McNabb had several open and willing receivers ready to snag passes on Tuesday. McNabb and Carter turned the school visit into an interactive event, lining up the some 110 students in two lines and actually throwing passes to each student. "We had a lot of fun out there today," McNabb said. "It's great to come down here and be a part of this thing with Quincy. The message I try to send (to the students) to them is that I'm just like them. I love to joke around and have a good time. I think we did that today." And the two quarterbacks did just that on Tuesday, keeping each other in laughter with their constant side chatter. While the friendship between the two is evident, the respect from both sides is even more apparent. Carter said the two became instant friends about three years ago during his rookie season with the Cowboys. "When I first got into the league, he was already doing damage in the league," Carter said of McNabb. "I definitely wanted to come in and get close with him and be around him. When you're around Donovan, just his spirit feeds off on everyone else. We help each other, but I think he's giving me all the tips right now." And while Carter chose not to comment on football-related matters, particularly his current quarterback situation with the Cowboys after the off-season addition of Drew Henson, McNabb didn't hesitate to add his two cents. "It's hard for any quarterback, especially talking about America's Team," McNabb said. "Last year, he had a great year and led his team to 10-6 and into the playoffs. No one has done that since Troy Aikman? And yet they're still trying to bring someone in. It's sad that a guy still has to prove himself every year. But Quincy is always up for the challenge. He's always willing to show what he has. He won't ever sit and talk bad about anyone. He just goes out to show what he can do. "But Quincy is a hard worker. I think people tend to overlook his determination and his drive. He had a great year, and I hope he has another great year. Not against us I hope." Although no game was played Tuesday, McNabb did own a slight edge over Carter in one category. There were three Donovan McNabb Eagles jerseys in the audience to zero for the Cowboys, despite this event taking place in the Cowboys' backyard. That might have surprised some, but not Carter. "No, Donovan is a spokesman for a lot of things," Carter said. "He's the epitome of what you want to be as a quarterback in the NFL. It doesn't surprise me when I see (Falcons QB) Michael Vick jerseys in Irving (Texas) or Donovan jerseys. I'm going to get to that point where everyone will have mine. That's where I want to be."