The first time Michael Vick was named the Eagles starter, he got a call from Andy Reid while on stage at a Philadelphia-area charity event.
That was back in September of 2010, as Vick took advantage of an injury to Kevin Kolb and set off on an unexpected, remarkable stretch of football that convinced the Eagles that they had a new franchise quarterback.
Fast-forward to Christmas Eve, 2012, the day of another Vick charity function – this one in Newport News, Virginia. Vick got another call from Reid, who asked him to be his starting quarterback one last time.
“I said if there is ever a time you need me I’ll be right there,” said Vick in a phone conversation with Birds 24/7. “I thought I played my last game for the season but things can always go the other way in the game of football.”
That has certainly proven to be the case during Vick’s time in Philly. From third string to star starter to struggling quarterback to third string again. At first reviled, then largely accepted by the Philadelphia and NFL community.
Reid took a chance on Vick when his popularity was at an all-time low and gave him an opportunity to showcase his ability again. The signal-caller showed his respect for the coach by not making a fuss when he was asked to run scout team while Nick Foles essentially auditioned for his job. And now he has a chance to send Reid off on a winning note, and do it in MetLife Stadium – the scene of one of the most exhilarating victories in franchise history.
“It’s all the more reason I’m excited to get another opportunity,” said Vick. “I came in with Coach Reid being my coach. It’our last game in our 2012 season and I would much rather be out there. I want to get a win for Coach Reid and I think my teammates will rally around that. It’s our own little Super Bowl in our own right.”
This could be Vick’s swan song as well with the Eagles. The team can cut him before February 6 and get out of the rest of his large contract without much harm. Perhaps the incoming coach will find value in the 32-year-old and fight to keep him on the roster (It has been suggested, for instance, that he could be a fit for Chip Kelly’s system), but it is far from a certainty that he will be here next year.
“It is God giving me the chance to play one more time in what could be my last game as an Eagle,” said Vick.
“My gut when it comes to that…the only thing I can think about is what type of performance, what type of player I can be for a team. I’m a consummate pro, a leader, I love the game. Bottle all that up and you have a recipe for success. I know what I can bring to the table and I know what I can do; its proven. That’s not a form of arrogance, it’s confidence.”
Coming off his second concussion in as many seasons, Vick recognizes the value of having a chance to prove that he is back and has something to offer potential suitors.
“I think that’s big to go out and show I’m back, I’m strong, I’m healed and I’m healthy, and that regardless of the circumstances I’m willing to fight for my football team. It’s been a rough year and I appreciate everything that’s happened,” he said.
“Regardless of what the outcome could be it’s important for us to finish strong.”
Vick spent the afternoon on Christmas Eve distributing toys to children in Newport News.
“We want these children to know that they are cared about,” said Vick. “Like many communities, there is a lot of need in Eastern Virginia. I have been blessed, so it is important to remember where you come from and give back.”