PHILADELPHIA – Michael Vick might remain a controversial figure. His name still tops polls about the most disliked player in the NFL, including a recent one released by Forbes.
But Vick has defused any possible controversy surrounding coach Chip Kelly’s decision to make Nick Foles the Eagles’ starting quarterback.
“When we sat down, [Kelly] didn’t have to say much,” Vick said. “I didn’t want to make this a hard decision for Coach. I didn’t want to make it a hard decision for anybody, for myself. You can’t be frustrated by it. I just wanted it to be a smooth transition.”
If this is the final act of Vick’s tenure in Philadelphia, as seems likely, the veteran quarterback will exit the stage with uncommon grace.
“It’s a selfless act, man,” cornerback Cary Williams said. “It just shows his maturity. It shows the type of person he is. He’s a good-hearted dude. It takes a lot, especially in these times. You have so many egos, you’ve got agendas. I’m glad he’s on my team.”
Vick set the tone for Foles’ promotion last week. In a weekly radio appearance, the veteran said he couldn’t see lifting Foles after the way he has played for the past three weeks.
“The writing was on the wall,” Williams said. “He’s had a tremendous year. He’s ascending. You can’t take that from him. It’s kind of common sense.”
By Tuesday, when Kelly made the decision official, Vick had already moved on.
“I’m not a selfish person,” Vick said. “I know the world doesn’t revolve around me.”
Mission accomplished. Many of the players didn’t even realize Kelly had named Foles his No. 1 quarterback. They came off the practice field and found reporters asking about it in the locker room.
“It doesn’t change how we prepare,” tight end Brent Celek said. “It just shows how close we are as a team. We’re going to give it everything we’ve got, no matter who’s at quarterback. I think very highly of Mike and everything he’s done and how he is as a teammate.”
Vick had $1.5 million in bonus money riding on his playing time this season. If Foles stays healthy and finishes the season as the quarterback, Vick will not get any of that. Vick would have to play at least 50 percent of the offensive plays to trigger a $500,000 bonus. The bonus money escalates with each additional 10 percent of playing time.
“Football is a team sport,” Williams said, “but sometimes you get paid individually. For that guy to come out and say what he did, it shows a lot.”
At the same time, Vick knows his chances for another contract after this year will be helped by displaying a team-oriented attitude now.
“It’s tough when your future is uncertain,” Vick said. “There’s still things you can do well. Hopefully that’s enough to show teams. I feel great. I still feel like I can play this game.”