Vick: ‘I’m Not A Backup’

It appears that Michael Vick will end this season, and quite possibly his career in Philadelphia, much the way he started here — as the third-string quarterback.

The 10-year veteran is running with the scout team at practice and is respectfully going along with the plan to slip as far into the background as possible while Nick Foles auditions for Vick’s old role. He wears no scowl and remains approachable. With an eye on his future and an appreciation of this organization, he continues to act as a professional.

But Vick is not content. And this is not a position he plans on being in much longer.

“I’m not a backup. Just being honest, just being candid. I’m a full-fledged starter,” said Vick in a one-on-one conversation with Birds 24/7. ” That’s what I’ve got in me,  that’s what I provide, that’s what I offer. Whatever happens, wherever I end up, they’re going to get 110 percent. You’re going to get the same thing out of me that you got the last two, three years and that’s 110 percent effort and a guy that’s confident in his abilities to play and win.

“I want to start. Yeah, I’m a starter. I’ll feel that way until I start to feel like I’m becoming a problem on the team.”

There has been plenty of blame to go around this season. Vick owns his fair share for turning the ball over 14 times in nine games and failing to play up to his mega-contract. He was also done no favors in the play-calling and pass-protection department. Eventually all the hits caught up with him, and he was KO’d in Dallas on November 11 and has not seen the field since. Just as Vick got his chance as a result of Kevin Kolb‘s concussion, so too has Foles gotten a look because of Vick’s head injury. As they have so many times since Vick came on board in 2009, the dynamics have shifted.

The 32-year-old Vick is due $15.5 million next season, $3 million of which becomes guaranteed on February 6. Teams can’t begin trading again until March 12, according to the league offices, making it a bit of a financial gamble to try and go the trade route. There is a chance he is off roster soon.

“I’m always going to be appreciative, first and foremost, of what the city did for me, you know as far as the reception when I first got here,” said Vick. “I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for the organization for giving me an opportunity. The one thing I can go out and say is that each and every down I gave it 110 percent, whether I got knocked down, had to get up, had to scramble and had to make a play. Whether I made the play or I didn’t, I gave it everything that I had. And that’s what you want out of all your players – you want that effort. I feel like I did everything I could to put this team in a position to win, and that was my giveback.”

The Vick era has been nothing if not dramatic. From the controversy around his signing to his sharp, breathtaking ascent in 2010 to the crash back to Earth that followed, the Virginia Tech product stole the show.

The third act will be interesting. Vick has sustained two concussions in as many years, and has absorbed blow after blow during his time in Philadelphia. He will be 33 years old in June, and the physical skills can only go one way from here. On the other side, Vick believes that he has improved substantially in the mental part of the game, and thinks there is a lot of quality football left in him.

“I just feel like I have made so many strides as far as learning the defensive part of the game and kind of piecing it together with the offense. I feel like over the last two years I’ve kind of gotten better in the protection game and learning defensive schemes,” he said.

“I’ve got prime left, man. I’m just getting started.”

Vick said he plans on having a great offseason and will work hard to get his body right as he waits to hear his fate. It is possible that his time here ends just as suddenly as it began.

“There will always be a soft spot for the city,” said Vick, “there will always be a soft spot for the organization.”

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