Michael Vick lands with Eagles
Disgraced quarterback Michael Vick has secured a spot with an NFL team, signing with the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday.
"He signed with the Eagles," Vicks' agent Joel Segal told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Thursday, adding it was a two-year deal.
Fox is reporting the first year of the contract will see Vick earn $1.6 million US. The Eagles also have a team option for a second year at $5.2 million.
The former Atlanta Falcons pivot has not suited up since 2006 and was convicted in August 2007 for financing a dogfighting operation.
Under the federal truth-in-sentencing law, Vick — originally sentenced to 23 months — had to serve at least 85 per cent of his prison time.
The beleaguered star spent 20 months in federal custody — 18 of them in prison — and was released July 20.
Vick was suspended indefinitely by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell when his legal woes began. However, Goodell conditionally lifted Vick's ban on July 27, which allowed the 29-year-old to sign with any team.
Vick is permitted to participate in practices, workouts, team meetings and compete in the final two pre-season games. Once the regular season begins, Vick may take part in all team activities except games, and Goodell said he would consider full reinstatement by Week 6 (Oct. 18-19).
"I'm a believer that as long as people go through the right process, they deserve a second chance," said Eagles coach Andy Reid. "He's got great people on his side; there isn't a finer person than [former Colts coach] Tony Dungy. He's proven he's on the right track."
A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Vick is the only NFL quarterback to rush for 1,000 yards in a season, but he has never thrown for more than 3,000 yards or 20 touchdowns in any season.
Under the guidance of quarterback Donovan McNabb, the Eagles advanced all the way to the NFC championship title game last season before falling to the Arizona Cardinals.
Reid stressed McNabb will remains his starter.
"There won't be a quarterback controversy," he said. "We have to make sure he gets back in football shape. He comes into a good, stable unit here. Donovan and Michael are very close."
Vick's signing with Philadelphia is a surprise considering the team said it had no interest in him. That may have changed after backup Kevin Kolb strained a knee ligament this week, although the injury isn't serious.
The report of Vick's signing appeared to catch the public relations staff off guard when the news began circulating around the press box in the first half of Philadelphia's home exhibition contest against the New England Patriots.
Once the highest paid NFL player, Vick filed for bankruptcy protection last July, listing assets of about $16 million and debts of more than $20 million.
While Vick cites a potential high salary as a means of paying back his debts, it's unlikely he will ever command anything close to the 10-year, $130-million contract he signed with the Falcons in 2004.
Vick took responsibility for his actions during a 60 Minutes interview scheduled to air Sunday night, saying he should have put a halt to the illegal dogfighting operation he financed.
The Virginia native feels "some tremendous hurt behind what happened," and needed to take "the initiative to stop it all … I didn't."
Asked whether he was more focused on his football career rather than the dogs he helped destroy, Vick replied, "Football don't even matter."
Dan Shannon, spokesman for the animal rights group PETA, quickly responded after the signing, reminding people of the damage Vick caused.
"PETA and millions of decent football fans around the world are disappointed that the Eagles decided to sign a guy who hung dogs from trees. He electrocuted them with jumper cables and held them under water," said Shannon.
"You have to wonder what sort of message this sends to young fans who care about animals and don't want them to be harmed."
With files from The Associated Press