A report Saturday says the Philadelphia Eagles are strongly considering releasing Michael Vick, though the team is denying it.
The Associated Press, citing a person familiar with the situation, says the team might cut Vick no matter what police conclude during their investigation of a shooting that followed the quarterback’s birthday celebration in Virginia Beach last week. The person spoke to The Associated Press early Saturday on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.
Later Saturday, the Eagles issued a statement contrary to the report.
"Any report or speculation that suggests the Eagles are considering releasing Vick are not true," the statement said. "We will continue to gather information and monitor the situation and we will not have any further comment until that process is complete."
Vick has said he had nothing to do with the shooting. He also said he reported the incident to the Eagles and to the NFL. Commissioner Roger Goodell told the former Atlanta Falcons star after reinstating him last season that his margin for error was "extremely limited.”
Vick is entering his second season with the Eagles and is due to earn $5.2 million. A three-time Pro Bowl pick, Vick is Kevin Kolb’s backup and the most experienced quarterback on the roster following the trade of Donovan McNabb.
The Eagles were heavily criticized by animal rights activists and fans for signing Vick last summer less than a month after he finished serving 18 months in federal prison for his role in a dogfighting operation.
Team owner Jeffrey Lurie called Vick’s actions "horrific” and "despicable.” He said he did serious "soul-searching” before agreeing to sign him.
Vick was a model citizen off the field and in the locker room during his first season with the Eagles. He was popular among his teammates, who voted him winner of the Ed Block Courage Award.
But this latest incident could end up costing Vick his job, even if he’s exonerated of any wrongdoing.
Vick was expected to play a major role in Philadelphia’s offense running the wildcat formation. Instead, he was used sparingly. Vick completed 6 of 13 passes for 86 yards and one touchdown and ran for 95 yards and two scores. He tossed a 76-yard TD pass in a 34-14 loss to Dallas in the playoffs.