The last time Michael Vick was the starting quarterback of an NFL team, it was for the Atlanta Falcons back on New Year’s Eve of 2006. His opponent? None other than the Philadelphia Eagles. Vick completed 8 of 14 passes for 81 measly yards that day.
It’s been a very long four years since that last start. Since that time, Vick has been imprisoned, fired, sued, disgraced, and publicly humiliated. It’s safe to assume that the only thing he had to console himself during those four long years was the prospect of again starting for a NFL team. And now, all signs point to Vick finally having his wish granted.
At the very earliest, (Kevin) Kolb cannot return to practice until Friday, Eagles coach Andy Reid said. Kolb failed to pass another concussion test Wednesday and hasn't even been cleared to return to team meetings, per NFL restrictions.
So, excluding a Lazarus-like comeback from Kolb, Vick will start in the Eagles' second game.
I think the only reason Kolb might still start is that Andy Reid knows a second brilliant outing from Vick would make it all but impossible for him to return Kolb to the starting lineup. So perhaps he’ll rush Kolb back onto the field to avoid that situation, but I highly doubt it.
Before Michael Vick went to prison for running a brutal dogfighting ring, I think most of us agreed he’d probably never start in an NFL game again. Not only was he damaged goods, but there was also the fact that Vick never developed into a very good passer. He never threw for more than 20 TD’s. He never passed for more than 3,000 yards. He never completed more than 56% of his throws during any season (he completed over 66% against Green Bay). So he had both his crimes AND his game working against him.
It’s pretty amazing that Vick has come to this point. It’s a testament to both his talent (which he still has plenty of) and his ability to not do anything obscenely stupid over the course of the past year, birthday party shootings not withstanding. It’s gonna be something of an odd moment. Everyone hated Vick for his crimes, but it’ll be hard not to see him start on Sunday and not feel some measure of gladness for him. Four years is a very, very long time. Especially when you spend a good amount of those four years in a prison cell.
A very unlikely comeback story may be about to begin.