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Eagles give Vick a shot

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Associated Press
August 14, 2009
— By halftime, the Linc was buzzing: Michael Vick was an Eagle.

Suddenly, no one seemed to care much about the preseason game against the New England Patriots on Thursday night. All that mattered to most fans was that the disgraced quarterback had joined their team.


Even though five-time Pro Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb is the man on the Philadelphia Eagles, the team gave Vick a one-year deal with an option for a second year.


The 29-year-old Vick, once the NFL’s highest-paid player, has been out of action since 2006. The former Atlanta Falcons star was convicted in August 2007 of conspiracy and running a dogfighting ring, and served 18 of a 23-month sentence in federal prison. He also was suspended indefinitely by the NFL.


“I’m a believer that as long as people go through the right process, they deserve a second chance,” Eagles coach Andy Reid said. “He’s got great people on his side; there isn’t a finer person than Tony Dungy. He’s proven he’s on the right track.”


Commissioner Roger Goodell conditionally lifted Vick’s suspension on July 27, allowing him to sign with a team, practice and play in the last two preseason games. Once the season begins, Vick can participate in all team activities except games, and Goodell said he would consider Vick for full reinstatement by Week 6 (Oct. 18-19) at the latest.


Philadelphia is a surprise landing point for Vick. It was among 26 clubs that said there was no interest in him, but that may have changed when backup Kevin Kolb strained a knee ligament earlier this week. Kolb’s injury isn’t serious and he’s expected to return next week. The Eagles also have veteran A.J. Feeley.


“There won’t be a quarterback controversy,” Reid said. “He comes into a good, stable unit here. Donovan and Michael are very close.”


Reid made sure he spoke with McNabb before signing Vick.


“I pretty much lobbied to get him here,” McNabb said.


“I believe in second chances and what better place to get a second chance than here with this group of guys. He’s no threat to me.”


In a “60 Minutes” interview set to air Sunday, Vick accepted blame for not stopping the illegal dogfighting operation he bankrolled.


Vick said he feels “some tremendous hurt behind what happened.”


He said he should have taken “the initiative to stop it all. I didn’t.”


Asked if he was more concerned about his playing career or the dogs he hurt, Vick replied, “Football don’t even matter.”


Reid believes most Eagles fans will accept Vick.


“This is America. We do make mistakes,” Reid said. “This situation is a chance to prove he’s doing the right things. He’s been proactive speaking across the country.”


Players around the NFL expressed happiness that Vick was back in the league.


“That’s a lot of talent right there that was going to go to waste if nobody picked him up,” Baltimore running back Willis McGahee said. “I think he’ll fit in pretty good there. They’re going to take care of him.”



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