Mike Vick Returns to the NFL
In one of last night’s preseason games, a five-time Pro Bowl quarterback threw 36 passes, for 244 yards and a touchdown, but in the recaps, I have yet to see one of those passes. Perhaps it had something to do with that quarterback being Donovan McNabb, who was overshadowed by the infamous return of Michael Vick to the NFL.
In Vick’s first game, he lined up in shotgun 5 times, and in the slot position just once. Vick completed 3 shovel passes and one pass down the field, ultimately going 4 for 4 for 19 passing yards. Vick rushed the ball just once, but to no avail, gaining just 1 yard on the play.
All and all, it was a very mild day for the former Pro Bowler, ex-con, and now Philadelphia Eagle. But regardless of how his play on the field went, it was the emotions of the night that surprised everyone.
Surprisingly, and not so surprisingly, fans at the Philadelphia Eagles Lincoln Financial Field gave Michael Vick a standing ovation when he entered the game on the second play of the Eagles preseason match against Jacksonville. Yes, you read right! The fans gave the former dog-killer and felon a standing ovation and welcomed him with open arms to the city of Philadelphia.
As for the contractors, there were no protests of note. In fact, the only protest remotely near the premises of Lincoln Financial Field consisted of three protesters holding a “Murderers are not role models” sign. While organizers of future major protest say that they will only protest against Vick and the Eagles once the regular season starts, there just doesn’t seem to be enough people on board the anti-Vick bandwagon at this point and time.
A lot of the focus on Vicks return has been directed towards Donovan McNabb, who made some interesting comments last night, basically saying that he hopes the offense will return to getting in a rhythm without so much emphasis on the Wildcat formation. In response to a question about having Vick come into the game, McNabb replied, “It was tough.” But McNabb’s frustration didn’t come from his lack of playing time or any angst towards Vick, but it came from a concern for making sure his offense could get in a rhythm. In the post-game press conference, McNabb said, “Offensively we just couldn’t get [our rhythm] going consistently.”
Of course, no one was happier about the return of Michael Vick then Michael Vick himself. Vick just seemed elated about his return. He even said that he might have made a wrong decision on the field just because he was so overjoyed by the welcome that the Eagles fans gave him. In the post-game press conference, Vick couldn’t hide the joy he got from being back on an NFL field and playing football. He said he never imagined he’d ever be in an Eagles uniform, and when it was really happening, he had to pinch himself to make sure it was true.
While Vick didn’t show the explosion we all are used to seeing, he did seem like he adjusted to the speed of the game. And with the one pass Vick threw down the field, you could see that his arm strength had not been affected by the long layoff. His 13-yard completion to Hank Baskett might have been the fastest ball thrown so far this preseason, and as long as Vick can do that, he’ll have many more opportunities to be excited about doing what he loves to do, playing football in the NFL.