By Andrew Porter
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – On August 13, 2009, the Philadelphia Eagles gave Michael Vick a second chance, after her served nearly two years in prison. It was one of the most controversial signings in Philadelphia sports history. Vick, in his fifth year of a roller coaster tenure in Philadelphia, might be in the midst of helping his team more than he ever has, and it has nothing to do with his play on the field.
The polarizing, and often criticized quarterback, was named the Eagles starting quarterback to begin the season, and although the Eagles started1-3, Vick was actually having a decent season statistically under new head coach, Chip Kelly.
However, in the Eagles week 5 matchup at the Giants, Vick injured his hamstring in the second quarter, forcing then backup, Nick Foles, into the game. Foles finished the game by completing 16 out of 25 passes for 197 yards passing and two touchdowns. Since then Foles has taken over, throwing a total of 16 touchdowns and 0 interceptions while becoming the highest rated quarterback in the NFL. More importantly, Foles has the Eagles at 6-5, on a three game winning streak, and in first place in the NFC East as they head into their bye week. While Vick was visibly disappointed on the sidelines that day against the Giants, and understandably so, he has showed nothing but class and leadership since then while handling the emergence and success of Foles.
From joint press conferences, to encouraging words caught by NFL microphones after big plays, Vick has been the consummate professional and an exemplary teammate, and he deserves credit.
Yesterday, on the WIP Afternoon Show with Anthony Gargano and Glen Macnow, Vick basically made it known that this is Foles’ team, and he understands that.
“I think in all honest, in all fairness, how can you take a guy out the game who has been playing so well? You know, I’ve been in this stage before and I know what’s it’s like,” Vick said. “I understand the position that this team is in and one thing I never want to do is you know, like I said, be a distraction or put our team or our coaches in a position where they feel like their not doing the right thing, or I feel like their not doing the right thing. I trust what’s going on, I enjoy being a part of it. I love it. I love the game of football in general, so it’s important for me to be there in support and be ready if my name and number is called again.”
The comments speak to Vick’s character as a teammate. They show he’s a leader, who knows the importance of chemistry. You need everyone on the same page to succeed in professional team sports, and it seems obvious, in a contract year even, Vick’s top priority is being a good teammate and helping his team win, even if it means mentoring from the sidelines.
“I enjoy the role of mentoring, but I also like being in the action,” Vick said on the WIP Afternoon Show. “I love playing football, I love playing quarterbacks, it’s a great game. So, I take on that role because I felt like that’s my responsibility when I’m in that position.”
Kelly has everyone buying into his system and seemingly every player understands his role going forward. The Eagles are riding a three game win streak into their bye week, and spirits couldn’t be higher.
Andrew Porter is the Audio Roadshow Coordinator for SportsRadio WIP, editor and writer for The School Philly, and a contributing sports blogger for CBS Philly. You can follow him on Twitter @And_Porter.