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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Eagles are finally getting their quarterback back.
Perhaps too little, too late.
Michael Vick, the NFC’s starting Pro Bowl quarterback a year ago, returned to practice Monday after missing three games with two broken ribs, and will play this weekend as last-place Philadelphia (4-8) meets the Miami Dolphins (4-8).
“I’ll definitely be out there,” Vick said. “I feel like I’ve got to be accountable for my team. I want to be there. You know, I just want to get back to doing what I love to do, and that’s playing the game of football. There’s nothing in this world like the game. I put my heart and soul into it, man, and I just wish I could have been out there the last three weeks, but it just hasn’t panned out that way.”
The Eagles were 1-2 without Vick, as former Titans Pro Bowl quarterback Vince Young tossed eight interceptions and just four touchdowns.
Vick suffered two broken ribs in the Eagles’ 21-17 loss Nov. 13 to the Cardinals at home. The Eagles are 3-6 in Vick’s nine starts this year, and he has 11 touchdown passes to go with 11 interceptions.
“He’s back on top of things,” center Jason Kelce said. “And mentally, he was all there today, which you would think with a guy missing a few weeks, that he would be kind of slow to come back, but he was on top of it.
“So, it was good to have him back.”
The Eagles need to win their last four games to avoid their first losing season since 2005 and only their second in 13 years under coach Andy Reid.
“I just think we put ourselves in bad situations sometimes, including myself,” Vick said. “I was a big part of it. … Obviously, I wish I could have done more this year like I did last year, but that’s just not the case.”
The Eagles face the Dolphins on Sunday in Miami in a battle of teams with identical records, yet they’re headed in opposite directions. The Eagles have lost four of their last five, and the Dolphins have won four of their last five.
Since Nov. 6, Miami has defeated Kansas City, Washington, Buffalo and Oakland, and lost to Dallas, 20-19, on a late field goal on Thanksgiving, after leading in the final minute.
The Eagles remain mathematically alive to reach the playoffs, although it is an extreme longshot.
“We’ve got to keep our heads up high, we’ve got to keep playing hard,” Vick said, “keep trusting and believing in one another, keep believing in our coaches and the philosophies that are being taught here, and make the most out of this.”
The Eagles are 3-3 on the road this season.
“We’ve still got an opportunity after everything that we’ve been through,” Vick added. “We’ve still got a chance and we’re going to play it out.”
Vick, who didn’t practice at all the past three weeks, said he worked out with no restrictions Monday and had no discomfort when he threw the football.
“I won’t say (I’m) 100 percent, but we’ve still got a week to go,” Vick said. “I get better each and every day. Still working hard in the treatment room to try to get better, but I went out and had a great practice and I feel good.”
Vick has lost eight of his last 11 starts since winning eight of his first 10 after replacing Kevin Kolb as Philadelphia’s starting quarterback early last year.
But he’s still the Eagles’ best chance to salvage something out of what looks like a lost season.
“It means a whole bunch to us,” receiver Jason Avant said. “That’s our starting quarterback and everyone knows it. We’re definitely comfortable with the other guys in there. I think that it’s going to be just exciting to play with him again and just having him back is going to be exciting for the guys.
“It’s going to be a guy who knows the system in and out and we’re excited about it.”
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