Eagles' Chip Kelly keeping Vick in mix; QB agrees to restructured contract to stay with Philly - pressofAtlanticCity.com: Sports

Eagles' Chip Kelly keeping Vick in mix; QB agrees to restructured contract to stay with Philly - pressofAtlanticCity.com: Sports

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Eagles' Chip Kelly keeping Vick in mix; QB agrees to restructured contract to stay with Philly

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Posted: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 2:09 am, Tue Feb 12, 2013.

PHILADELPHIA - When it came time for new Eagles coach Chip Kelly to evaluate Michael Vick, he decided to look beyond the turnovers and injuries that marred the quarterback's last two seasons and focused instead on the intangibles.

Kelly met with Vick twice over the last month and came away convinced that the veteran quarterback is still capable of being a Pro Bowl-level player.

"I had never met him before, so I had no preconceived notions," Kelly said today. "The one thing that attracted me is, he's a competitor. He's not afraid of anything and he loves competition. I also love his toughness, and that can't be overrated at the quarterback position. And he obviously still has the skill set to be successful."

As a result, Vick is staying with the Eagles for at least one more season.

The two sides agreed to a restructured contract today. The new deal is for three years in order to satisfy guidelines under the league's collective bargaining agreement, but the final two years become void on March 15. That leaves Vick with an incentive-laden contract that could be worth as much as $10 million, including the $3 million roster bonus he received on Feb. 6.

"Michael Vick is going to get a change of scenery," Kelly said, "but not a change of address."

Vick was originally scheduled to make $15.5 million in 2013 under the terms of the six-year, $100 million pact he signed two years ago.

Because of his lofty salary and his inconsistent performances over the last two seasons, the Eagles were expected to release him during the offseason.

"I am grateful and proud to be a Philadelphia Eagle," Vick said today in a statement. "My heart is in Philly and this community is important to me. I look forward to playing for Coach Kelly, (owner) Jeffrey Lurie and the entire Eagles organization, the City of Philadelphia and the fans. I am training hard this offseason and will be ready for Coach Kelly's team vision and leadership. Our goal is to win."

Vick, who will turn 33 in June, is coming off a pair of poor seasons after having made the Pro Bowl in 2010. In the 2011-12 seasons, he committed 33 total turnovers with 24 interceptions and nine lost fumbles while throwing 30 touchdown passes. He also missed eight games over the last two seasons because of rib injuries (2011) and a concussion (2012).

He was demoted late last season in favor of rookie Nick Foles, who apparently also will be given a chance to be the starter next season. In addition, the Eagles could sign quarterback Dennis Dixon, a former standout with Kelly at the University of Oregon who is on Baltimore's practice squad.

"I'm not ruling anything out," Kelly said. "Who the starting quarterback is this year will be won on the practice field."

Vick, Foles and whoever else the Eagles sign or draft to play quarterback will work with a new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

Pat Shurmur, who coached Donovan McNabb during his 10 seasons with the Eagles (1999-2008), was formally introduced Monday as Kelly's offensive coordinator. Former University of Virginia offensive coordinator Bill Lazor will be the quarterbacks coach.

Shurmur has the advantage of having coached against Vick, having just been fired after two seasons as Cleveland's head coach. The Eagles opened the 2012 season at Cleveland. Vick threw four interceptions and two touchdown passes in a 17-16 victory.

"He's a complete player," Shurmur said today. "He can beat you from the pocket with his arm and quick release, and he can certainly beat you with his legs when things break down.

"I met with Michael and I really believe he wants to do what it takes to win. I could sense the emotion in his voice when we met."

There has been an air of mystery surrounding the offensive and defensive systems that Kelly plans to install.

Vick's versatility would seem to be a good match for the read-option attack that Kelly used to light up scoreboards at Oregon. However, Kelly said he has just as much confidence that Foles would be able to produce.

"People can look at what we've done (at Oregon) and want to paint us with two different brushes," Kelly said. "But that's not the case. We're going to be an equal-opportunity scoring operation. If we have to throw the ball 50 times or run the ball 50 times, we'll do it. Whatever it takes to move the football and put points on the board."

Contact David Weinberg:

609-272-7186

DWeinberg@pressofac.com

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