PHILADELPHIA — Eagles quarterback Michael Vick desperately wants to play again this season.
But he knows that’s not likely to happen. As much as he craves for the opportunity to lead the Eagles’ offense for the final two games of the season, Vick is resigned to watching rookie Nick Foles play in Sunday’s home finale against Washington and at the New York Giants on Dec. 30.
“It’s tough because as a competitor, I want to be out there,” Vick said after Monday’s light practice at the NovaCare Complex. “But it’s just not the ideal situation right now the way things are. I just have to accept my role as a man, continue to support Nick and try to help this football team anyway I can. I just have to roll with the punches. As of right now, that’s the only thing I can do.”
Vick spoke to the media Monday for the first time since suffering a concussion against Dallas on Nov. 11.
Foles, the Eagles’ third-round draft pick, has started the last five games. Two weeks ago, Eagles coach Andy Reid announced that Foles would remain the starter even when Vick was ready to come back.
Foles has shown some potential and also made some mistakes. He earned a lot of accolades after rallying the Eagles to a 23-21 victory at Tampa Bay on Dec. 9 but threw a costly interception in their 34-13 loss to Cincinnati last Thursday.
“I just want to continue to improve as a player,” Foles said Monday. “Just be more efficient, eliminate the mistakes, just continue to throw the ball strong and just move forward. I want to keep getting better, whatever that takes.”
At 4-10, the Eagles have already been eliminated from playoff contention, so Reid has been using the last few games to take a look at some of the younger players such as Foles, rookie running back Bryce Brown and third-year defensive end Brandon Graham.
The Eagles have not said whether running back LeSean McCoy will get any playing time. McCoy has been out since suffering a concussion against the Redskins on Nov. 18.
Vick knows he won’t be getting any snaps unless Foles gets hurt.
“By not playing, I don’t think that will affect my future (in the NFL),” Vick said. “I’ve come back strong, I’m healthy, I’m ready to go. I’m still confident in my abilities. I always feel I’m one of the best (quarterbacks in the league). I know I can still play this game at a high level.
“(Being a backup) is tough, but that’s just the way things are right now. I just have to deal with it. I just have to continue to work hard and continue to help Nick. That’s my job as a leader on this football team.”
After the season, he faces an uncertain future.
If the 32-year-old wants to stay with the Eagles as Foles’ backup, he would need to accept a drastic paycut. Vick is scheduled to make $15 million next season as part of the six-year, $100 million contract he signed with the Eagles last year. If the Eagles cut him before this season’s Super Bowl, they will not owe him anything. Cutting him in the spring would mean giving him a $3 million going-away present.
Vick refused to speculate beyond this season, but made it clear that he wants the opportunity to be a starter again. He figures to have no shortage of suitors, given the slew of teams — Arizona, Jacksonville, Minnesota, New York Jets, Oakland and Tampa Bay, among others — with unsettled quarterback situations.
“After the season, I’ll have to talk with my agent (Joel Segal) and see what’s next,” Vick said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I just feel like I have a lot of football left. I feel like I’ve got a lot left in my tank.”
His last two seasons with the Eagles have not gone well.
He led the Eagles to the playoffs in 2010 and made the Pro Bowl, but has struggled with consistency, turnovers and injuries. Last season, he threw a career-high 14 interceptions and missed three games with broken ribs. Upon describing this year’s team as a potential dynasty, he committed 14 turnovers (nine interceptions, five lost fumbles) in eight games before getting hurt against the Cowboys.
Although he left that game after getting hit by Cowboys linebacker Ernie Sims, Vick admitted Monday that he actually was injured a few plays earlier.
“I only know one way to play this game,” Vick said. “If I can get up, I’ll get up and try to keep playing. I tried to stay out there, but after I knew I had to come out because I couldn’t see.”
Vick has endured his share of knockdowns in recent years, both on and off the football field.
He signed with the Eagles in 2009 after serving 23 months in a federal prison in Leavenworth, Kan., on charges relating to operating a dog-fighting ring in his hometown of Newport News, Va.
Since becoming the starter early in 2010, he missed 12 total games with a variety of injuries, including broken ribs and his recent concussion. Before getting hurt this season, he absorbed dozens of hits while playing behind a makeshift offensive line.
“Regardless of the situation right now, I can’t be upset or become distraught about anything that happens,” Vick said. “It’s just a blessing to be back playing football again. From where I came from, I never would have thought I would have gotten the opportunities I’ve had for the last three or four years.
“I’m just rolling with the punches and enjoying the game of football. This is what I love and I realized that today.”
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