National Football League
Vick about to take another big step in comeback
National Football League

Vick about to take another big step in comeback

Published Sep. 26, 2009 4:56 p.m. ET

Three sale items distinguish the airport terminal here from any other.

Authentic Philly cheesesteaks, an abundance of chewy soft pretzels and Michael Vick memorabilia.

Move over, Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook. Black Philadelphia Eagles jerseys bearing Vick's name and his trademark No. 7 are the showcase items for two sports clothing stores inside Concourse C.

"For real? That's awesome, man," Vick said Friday when told of the displays in front of both shops. "From what I hear, they're going like hotcakes."

Six weeks ago, the thought of Vick jerseys being burned in effigy wasn't far-fetched.

Vick arrived in Philadelphia last month amid a maelstrom of controversy because of his dog-fighting past. Protestors gathered outside team headquarters with graphic posters decrying his signing. Bigger demonstrations from animal-rights activists were expected outside Eagles home games. If Vick made one misstep, his signing would have heaped even more negative attention on a franchise already under enough pressure to win its first Super Bowl title.

"The locker room could have been turned upside-down," Eagles center Jamaal Jackson said.

But Vick's NFL return couldn't have gone more smoothly. The only crowd outside NovaCare Complex on Friday was autograph seekers. The mass protests never happened and aren't expected Sunday when Vick plays in a regular-season game against visiting Kansas City for the first time since December 2006.

Say what you will about Reid's penchant for pass-heavy offensive game plans. He couldn't have scripted Vick's return any better.

Eagles brass did a masterful job on two fronts: helping Vick become re-acclimated to football while providing off-field assistance as he put his personal affairs in order following bankruptcy and 18-month prison term. Vick also was welcomed by his new teammates without a hint of dissent.

"The key was me being willing to come into this type of team atmosphere and wanting to make it about the team and not about myself," Vick told "That made the transition a lot easier."


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