PITTSBURGH – Michael Vick is glad he chose the Philadelphia Eagles, even if he had more attractive options.
After telling GQ magazine that he didn't want to come to Philadelphia to be a third-string quarterback following his release from federal prison two years ago, Vick clarified his remarks late Thursday after he threw three interceptions in a 24-14 preseason loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"I wanted to be with (coach Andy Reid)," Vick said. "I knew that I was going to have to sit, but I knew it was going to pay great dividends for me. I couldn't see it at the time, but that goes to show how much I know because of how things worked out. I'm glad to be an Eagle and hopefully I will be for a long time."
Vick was speaking to the media hours after he released a statement through the team that reiterated his stance that the choice to sign with the Eagles was solely his, with consultation from his agent and family.
Vick rejuvenated his career with the Eagles, started in the Pro Bowl last year and finished runner-up to Tom Brady for NFL MVP. In the September issue of GQ, Vick says that he consulted with Commissioner Roger Goodell before signing with Philadelphia.
"I think I can say this now, because it's not going to hurt anybody's feelings, and it's the truth," Vick says. "I didn't want to come to Philadelphia. Being the third-team quarterback is nothing to smile about. Cincinnati and Buffalo were better options."
The article states: "After meeting with Commissioner Roger Goodell and other reps from the NFL, Vick was convinced — and granted league approval — to sign with Philly."
Vick is then quoted saying: "And I commend and thank them, because they put me in the right situation."
Vick reiterated those thoughts in the visiting team's media room as midnight approached Thursday, denying that the distraction of day's controversy had anything to do with performance.
The NFL issued the following statement Thursday: "Michael Vick's decision on where to play to put himself in the best position to succeed was entirely his own. Commissioner Goodell obviously met and spoke to Michael and his representatives as part of his decision on whether to reinstate Michael and on what terms. But the commissioner would never steer players to or away from particular teams and did not do so in this case."
Vick played sparingly in 2009 behind Donovan McNabb and Kevin Kolb. McNabb was traded to Washington in April 2010, and Vick eventually replaced Kolb after he was injured in the season opener last year. Vick had the best all-around season of his career, led the Eagles to the NFC East title and was The Associated Press Comeback Player of the Year.
In validating his decision to sign with the Eagles after being tempted by opportunities where he might have had the chance to start immediately, Vick pointed to a preseason game against the New York Jets that first season with Philadelphia in 2009.
"I tried to take off running, and I fell flat on my face because I had no legs up under me," he said. "That right there really showed me that I wasn't ready to play an entire season. The pressures that came along with it, what it takes as far as your body and physical condition and endurance that you need. After that game I was just happy to have that opportunity to sit back and watch the game for a year, be a rookie again."
Vick acknowledged that he initially was seeking a team where he could have the opportunity to start immediately. Vick also talked about how, even after discussions with Reid compelled him to sign with the Eagles, the quarterback still had to convince ownership (Jeffrey Lurie and family) he was fit to join the team.
"As a competitor, you want to play, and of course Cincinnati and Buffalo were on the table at that time," Vick said. "I really had to evaluate my situation and how my body felt, had to take some things into consideration and also had to convince them to let me come here. That was after I made the decision to come here and negotiations with my agent with the Eagles. Once the decision was made and they bring me, that's when everything worked out."