Eagles Take a Flyer on Dog-Killer Vick | Zagsblog
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Sunday / February 5.
  • Eagles Take a Flyer on Dog-Killer Vick

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    The Philadelphia Eagles made a bold and controversial move Thursday by announcing the signing of disgraced former Atlanta Falcons QB Michael Vick to a one-year deal.

    Vick will make $1.6 million this year, with a club option for $5.2 million next season.

    Vick was convicted in 2007 of conspiracy and running a dogfighting operation. He served 18 months of a 23-month sentence in federal prison and was suspended indefinitely by the NFL.

    “I was wrong, man,” Vick told James Brown of “60 Minutes” in an interview to air Sunday. “I feel, you know, some tremendous hurt behind what happened. And, you know, I should have took the initiative to stop it all. . . . I didn’t. I didn’t step up. I wasn’t a leader.”

    The Eagles will announce the signing at a news conference on Friday. Tony Dungy, who has been advising Vick, will also be on hand.

    The team is already taking heat from PETA officials.

    “PETA and millions of decent football fans around the world are disappointed that the Philadelphia Eagles have chosen to sign a man who hanged dogs from trees, electrocuted them with jumper cables, held them under water until they drowned in his swimming pool, and even threw his own family dogs into the fighting pit to be torn to shreds while he laughed,” Dan Shannon, PETA director of youth and outreach campaigns, said in a statement.

    “PETA certainly hopes that Vick has learned his lesson and feels truly remorseful for his crimes — but since he’s given no public indication that that’s the case, only time will tell.”

    Vick was conditionally reinstated by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and will be eligible to practice Saturday. He cannot play in Thursday’s preseason game at Indianapolis, but is eligible to play in the following two preseason games against Jacksonville and the Jets.

    Goodell will consider Vick for reinstatement “by Week 6 in mid-October.

    Vick went 38-28-1 as a starter with Atlanta. He has passed for 11,505 yards and rushed for 3,859, including 1,039 in 2006, an NFL record for a quarterback.

    Vick hasn’t played in two years and will back up Donovan McNabb, the team’s starting QB and a mentor to Vick since Vick was in high school.

    “I pretty much lobbied to get him here because I believe everyone deserves a second chance,” McNabb told reporters in Philadelphia. “What a better place to come here with this group who continues to stay together and we bond together through tough times and be able to overcome adversity. For a guy who has spoken the truth in front of the nation, has served his time and for a guy who is just looking for an opportunity to get his feet back on the ground.

    “I think he deserves it and I look forward to him joining us in the next couple days.”

    Still, if McNabb gets off to a slow start it could trigger a quarterback controversy.

    Yet McNabb downplayed the significance  of Vick as a threat to his job, adding that Vick  can ultimately bring a “spark to this team.”

    “There’s no threat for me,” McNabb said. “It’s an opportunity for us to add another weapon to our offense and to our team. For a guy who knows it’s going to take some time to get settled back in what he wants to do, patience is everything.

    “When the time comes, when we decide to unveil him, I think everyone across the league will understand why we did this.”

    Vick joins an offense that includes DaSean Jackson, Kevin Curtis, Jeremy Maclin, Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy

    He automatically becomes a potential weapon, especially if the Eagles opt to implement the Wildcat offense.

    “I think people look at the Wildcat as a copout,” McNabb said. “He’s a quarterback. He’s not a utility guy. He’s not a receiver. He’s not a running back. Too many times people focus in on numbers, instead of focusing in on wins and losses.

    “Whenever the guy was on the team in Atlanta and had the ball in his hands, they had the best chance of winning. And that’s what you want to do to great players. You want to somehow put the ball in their hands and give them an opportunity to make plays for you.”

    McNabb emphasized that Vick “was very excited” to join the team.

    He also said that he owned dogs himself and had found a way to  forgive Vick for his actions.

    “This guy should be rewarded a second chance,” McNabb said. “For all who are dog lovers and I have dogs myself, I have looked past it and I think everybody else should as well.”

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.