Vick practices like he's Eagles' starter
Michael Vick hasn't lost any of his swagger, even if he's competing for a starting job and perhaps even a roster spot.
''This is still my team, still my job,'' Vick said Wednesday after the Philadelphia Eagles held their second practice under coach Chip Kelly. ''That's the mindset you have to have. I believe in myself and my abilities and I believe in the guys on this football team. I'm just excited I'm back in Philadelphia for another year and we have an opportunity to do some great things.''
Vick is entering his fifth season with the Eagles, and the soon-to-be 33-year-old quarterback is the oldest player on a rebuilding team. He accepted a restructured contract to remain with the Eagles, just two years after signing a $100 million extension that included $35.5 million in guaranteed money.
Vick could've forced the Eagles to move him elsewhere. Instead, he wanted to play for Kelly and his high-octane offense.
''I took the risk because Philadelphia has been great to me,'' he said. ''Jeffrey Lurie has been awesome and outstanding in his ownership and leadership. Bringing in Chip Kelly was a determining factor and I wanted to have an opportunity to learn a new offense. Watching what Oregon did the last few years was exciting and I wanted to give it another shot. Sometimes money isn't the determining factor. It should never be.''
Vick is sharing first-team reps with Nick Foles and Dennis Dixon. Foles, a third-round pick last year, replaced an injured Vick last November and kept the starting job the rest of the season. The Eagles finished 4-12 and coach Andy Reid was fired after 14 years.
There's an incredible sense of excitement surrounding the Eagles during their first minicamp under Kelly. Things certainly are different down at the NovaCare complex. For example, players walked off the practice field to find personalized protein shakes waiting for them along with fruit and granola bars on tables inside the hallway leading to the locker room.
And, of course, there's that new offense.
''This offense is very dynamic,'' Vick said. ''It's up-tempo, fast-paced. It's something I've never seen before. I'm very excited about what we're doing. It's very refreshing.''
Vick has been a fixture at the team's practice complex since the doors opened to players on April 1. He's bulked-up his upper body, and will need that extra muscle. In Kelly's read zone offense, quarterbacks are exposed to more hits.
Vick has missed 11 games because of injuries over the last three seasons, and is 10-13 as a starter the last two years after leading the Eagles to the NFC East title in 2010 and starting in the Pro Bowl that season.
''The thing is you don't have to take a hit,'' Vick said. ''You'll understand when you see us practice and when you see us play. You don't have to take a hit.''
Practices are closed to the media, so Vick's word stands for now.
The competition between Vick and Foles for the starting job is expected to last deep into training camp. Or, the Eagles may turn it over to a rookie they draft next week.
West Virginia's Geno Smith, Florida State's EJ Manuel and Syracuse's Ryan Nassib are possibilities for Philadelphia. Many draft experts expect the Eagles to take Smith at No. 4. Manuel might be the better fit and he could last until the Eagles pick in the second round.
Regardless, Vick isn't worried about more competition.
''It won't change me. Still feel I'm one of the best,'' he said. ''Nothing is ever set in stone or concrete. I think we all have to earn our respect in this league. We have to earn our position, earn our jobs. It's not only on Sundays, but like Coach Kelly said you have to win every day. We've got to let our habits reflect our mission and that's what I'm trying to practice.''
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