Vick can return in 3d game
NEW YORK - Michael Vick got the green light for full reinstatement in the NFL yesterday when commissioner Roger Goodell said the disgraced quarterback could play later this month instead of waiting until October.
Vick, recently signed by the Philadelphia Eagles, will now be able to play in the Sept. 27 game at home against the Kansas City Chiefs. It would be his first regular-season game since he was sent to prison for his role in operating a dogfighting ring. The former Atlanta Falcons star was released from federal custody July 20 after serving 18 months of a 23-month sentence.
Originally, Goodell said he would consider Vick for reinstatement no later than the sixth week of the season - Oct. 18.
“I think he’s making real progress,’’ Goodell said at a news conference. “I think he has a better feel for the challenges ahead of him.
“He understands he has very little margin for error, that people are watching him.’’
Vick scored his first touchdown since 2006 early in the second quarter in last night’s exhibition game at the Meadowlands, but was sacked four times, lost a fumble and was intercepted as the New York Jets beat the Eagles, 38-27.
“[Goodell] met with Michael this morning and I think he came out of it feeling very confident that Michael’s doing the right things and is on the right track,’’ Eagles president Joe Banner said before the game.
“I think Michael wants to play as soon as he can. On the other hand, I think he thinks this was fair.’’
A three-time Pro Bowl pick during six seasons with the Falcons, Vick was a surprise signing by the Eagles Aug. 13. He received a one-year deal for $1.6 million with a team option for a second year at $5.2 million.
Vick started practicing with the Eagles Aug. 15, but did not travel with the team to its second exhibition game in Indianapolis because he could not play.
He played six snaps in Philadelphia’s home game against Jacksonville last week. He completed all four of his pass attempts, but the Eagles’ offense scored just three points in the possessions he played.
Last night, Vick lined up at quarterback, faked a handoff and ran up the middle from 2 yards out 25 seconds into the quarter.
Former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, who has served as a mentor to Vick at Goodell’s behest, also helped the commissioner with his decision.
The Eagles plan to use Vick in their version of the wildcat offense, and Reid has stated that Kevin Kolb remains the backup to Donovan McNabb.
Vick’s familiarity with the West Coast offense has expedited his learning process with Philadelphia. He’s said he’s content doing whatever he can to help the team win.
While McNabb is an excellent scrambler, he prefers being a pocket passer. Vick always has been far more inclined to take off and run than stay in the pocket and find an open receiver. His career completion percentage is only 53.8 percent, and he has more career 100-yard rushing games (8) than 250-yard passing games. Vick has 71 career touchdown passes, but 52 interceptions.