PHILADELPHIA – Michael Vick has always appreciated the chance that the Philadelphia Eagles gave him to return to the NFL. Now, he's getting an opportunity to return the favor.
Vick will start at quarterback for the Eagles on Sunday against the Detroit Lions, the first time he's been under center at the start of a game since his time with the Atlanta Falcons — long before the world learned about his cruel world of dogfighting.
Eagles coach Andy Reid made it official Friday when he ruled quarterback Kevin Kolb out for Sunday's game with the concussion he suffered in their season-opening loss to the Green Bay Packers. Middle linebacker Stewart Bradley was also ruled out with a concussion.
Reid said that both players passed the written part of the concussion test, but they had to see Dr. William Welch to pass the next phase. That appointment was set for Friday.
"We'll see how that goes before we go any further," Reid said.
Meanwhile, the Eagles head to Detroit looking to even their record at 1-1. And starting at quarterback will be Vick, who last started the final game of the 2006 season for the Falcons against, ironically enough, the Eagles.
"It would be gratifying," Vick said of leading the Eagles to a win. "This team took a chance on me when not many others would."
Vick missed the entire 2007 and '08 seasons after his involvement in a dogfighting ring came to light. The Eagles signed him last preseason and, after serving a four-game suspension, he played in 12 regular-season games for the team primarily as an option in the wildcat formation.
For the season, Vick completed 6 of 13 passes for 86 yards with one touchdown. He also ran the ball 24 times for 95 yards and two touchdowns.
Any rust that may have been lingering came off in chunks last week against the Packers, though, when Vick came into the game in the second half with the Eagles trailing 20-3. His elusiveness in the open field and strong arm helped Philadelphia get within 27-20, before his last drive stalled on fourth-and-1 from the Green Bay 42.
Vick still finished 16 of 24 for 175 yards and a touchdown while running for 103 yards.
"Michael is excited to step in and play," Reid said. "As we all know, he was one of the great quarterbacks in the league before he was incarcerated.
"He did a great job of getting back into shape, that's number one. Then, the speed of the game — you're talking about a guy who was one of the fastest players in the game and he was stumbling a little last preseason. Then you look last Sunday and he was as fast as he was. He not only ran for 100 yards, but he also threw the ball well."
Vick took all the reps with the first team in practice this week and should be as ready to start as he's been since he left the Falcons.
"This is a big game," Vick said. "It's not about me making my first start or none of that. I've put all of that aside. It's about us going on the road and trying to get a win. We need to go out there and get a win, that's what matters. Nobody wants to be 0-2."