EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Michael Vick can’t catch a break, except literally.
The Philadelphia Eagles quarterback set a simple goal for himself before this season: Play all 16 games of a season for just the second time in his career and first time since 2006. He talked about adding muscle, about being smart in avoiding hits, and about getting rid of the ball faster.
“I’m just running by myself, just running out of bounds,” Vick said.
No contact. No taking on a defender to block for a teammate. No diving headfirst for an extra couple yards. Vick did exactly what he was supposed to be doing and still, he pulled a hamstring.
The severity of the injury won’t be known until Vick undergoes a MRI Monday. His availability for next Sunday in Tampa will probably be determined late in the week, depending on how the leg feels and how much he is able to practice.
But the question must be asked again: Does Chip Kelly’s offense expose his quarterback to too much injury risk to work long-term in the NFL? The fact that Vick wasn't hit makes the issue more pressing. If he isn’t running seven times for 79 yards, he probably doesn’t get hurt.
“He didn’t look like he was moving well,” Kelly said. “I just didn’t want to put him in harm’s way.”
Vick said he hoped he would be able to play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers without missing his first start of the season. He’s had hamstring pulls in the past, he said.
“I think I missed a week,” he said.
Kelly pointed out that it was a non-contact injury.
“It was just a soft tissue injury,” Kelly said. “We’ll see where he is when we get back to work on Tuesday.”
For a twist of irony, Kelly talked Thursday about the Eagles’ sports-science based approach to practice, conditioning and recovery. He said he believed it was a primary reason for the Eagles’ short injury report, especially the lack of soft tissue injuries.
Vick has fully embraced Kelly’s methods and said he felt more fit than he had in years. He has done everything right, avoided contact and still got hurt.
“I think no matter where you are in this league,” Kelly said, “you have to make sure you have two quarterbacks.”
Especially, it seems, if you’re in Philadelphia.