After an almost three-year absence from the NFL, Michael Vick is set to make his return tonight, as the Eagles welcome Jacksonville to Philadelphia.Coincidentally enough, he will debut for the Eagles at the same stadium where he played his last game before going to prison on dogfighting charges, Lincoln Financial Field.
Among the usually diehard Eagles fans will undoubtedly be spatterings of protestors who think, presumably, that a 19 month prison sentence was not enough. But Keith Brooking, the Cowboys' linebacker who played with Vick for six seasons in Atlanta, says that Vick has paid his dues, and deserves this chance.
In an interview with The NFL Network, Brooking said, "Well I think, you know, Mike's gone above and beyond as far as paying his price. Having the opportunity to get back out there on the football field, I know it's going to be an exciting time for him. He's obviously one of the most dynamic, electric players, electrifying players to ever play this game on this level, so I think he'll be a tremendous asset to the Eagles."
While the veteran linebacker conceded openly that Vick's actions were reprehensible, he told a story of an otherwise good man who had made a series of bad mistakes.
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"I had an opportunity to play with Michael for six years, and does he have regrets? I'm sure he does, and he will tell you that," Brooking continued. "But you know, deep down, the Michael that I know is a good guy, he's a good teammate. He came to work every day, and especially on Sundays, and laid it on the line for his football team.
"I think once the guys, you already kind of hear it coming out of Philadelphia, the guys that are getting to know Michael, that he's a great teammate and, as I said when I first came on, he's going to be an asset to the Philadelphia Eagles, there's no doubt about that."