PHILADELPHIA - The Eagles' players showed Wednesday that they have a unique view of sportsmanship and courage.
Backup quarterback Michael Vick was deemed as the Eagles' player who best exemplifies those traits. His teammates selected him as their recipient of this year's Ed Block Courage award. He will join the other 31 team winners at a banquet in Baltimore on March 9, 2010.
"I think it's pretty much self-explanatory why everybody voted for me," Vick said Wednesday. "I had to overcome a lot, more than probably one single individual can handle or bear. Take a look at what I've been through and if you asked certain people to walk in my shoes, they probably couldn't do it. Probably 95 percent of the people in this world (couldn't do it).
"Nobody had to endure what I've been through, situations I've been put in, situations I've placed myself in and decisions that I've made, whether they were good or bad. You have to be strong and believe in yourself and be optimistic, and that's what I've been able to do and that's what I display."
The Eagles' previous 26 Ed Block winners were selected after overcoming a serious injury, illness or personal tragedy in their lives.
Last year's honoree, long snapper Jon Dorenbos, overcame the murder of his mother by his father when he was 12. Two years ago, defensive end Jerome McDougle won the award after being shot the day before he was to report to training camp. Fullback Cecil Martin, who was homeless as a teenager, was honored in 2000.
Vick is in his first season with the Eagles after being out of the NFL for two seasons. He served 18 months in a federal prison in Leavenworth, Kan., after being convicted of charges related to a dogfighting ring he supervised and operated in his hometown of Newport News, Va.
"Look at what he went through, going to prison for two years, the negative attitudes, and then to come back and help this team win football games," Eagles center Jamaal Jackson said. "I don't know what guy could take two years off and then come back the way he has. It was a landslide (vote) for him.
"When you're on a team, your teammates are like your family. They're like your brothers and you have that type of bond with them. We're all about second chances and Mike deserves a second chance."
Jackson could have been considered for the award, along with players such as defensive tackle Antonio Dixon, safety Macho Harris and wide receiver DeSean Jackson.
Jamaal Jackson is helping to raise the four children of his older brother, Kamar, who was killed by a drunk driver last year. Dixon spent most of his youth living in homeless shelters. Harris lost his mother, Maritza, to a brain aneurysm on Christmas Day, 2004. DeSean Jackson's father, Bill, died last May after fighting pancreatic cancer.
"I'm not sure you can explain it untless you've gone through it with (Vick)," Reid said. "Everybody is going to have their opinion on it, I'm sure. Until you've been with him for the hours that his teammates have been with him and seen him through all these different things that he's had to go through, you can't appreciate it quite as much.
"I don't expect everybody to understand it, but I think it's a tribute when it's a slam dunk by his teammates voting for him like that. It was a unanimous vote there."
Other Ed Block winners Wednesday included Denver safety Brian Dawkins, who will be playing against the Eagles Sunday. Dawkins spent the previous 13 seasons with the Eagles, yet never won the award in Philadelphia. Broncos running back Correll Buckhalter was the Eagles' recipient in 2003, a year after he suffered a season-ending knee injury.
Vick signed with the Eagles during the preseason and has played in 12 games as a reserve. He has completed 6-of-13 passes for 86 yards and a touchdown. He has also rushed for 95 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries. Off the field, he has tried to repair his image by speaking to various schools and youth groups.
"This award means a great deal," Vick said. "I've only been in this locker room for three and a half months, and for those guys to feel that way about me, it means a lot to me. The bond that I have with players on this team and the way we've jelled, it's been outstanding."
Extra points: Vick (quadriceps contusion) was the only player to miss practice Wednesday. Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (plantar fasciitis) practiced after missing last week's game.
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