How Ready Is Vick?

Qb Makes Post-prison Debut With Eagles Against Jaguars Tomorrow Night

August 26, 2009|By Andre D. Williams | Andre D. Williams,Tribune Newspapers

PHILADELPHIA -- Michael Vick's speed and flash are back.

His arm strength also has looked good during Philadelphia Eagles practices at the team's NovaCare Complex.

But can he still play quarterback in the NFL?

We'll begin to find the answer Thursday night. That's when Vick - wearing a No. 7 jersey and with what coach Andy Reid said likely will be butterflies in his stomach - will play in his first NFL game in two years when the Eagles meet the Jacksonville Jaguars at Lincoln Financial Field.

Vick's last game was on Dec. 31, 2006, against the Eagles at the Linc and it was not pretty. Playing for the Atlanta Falcons, he completed eight of 14 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown before being sidelined with an ankle sprain.

The Falcons lost the game, 24-17. Eleven months later, Vick lost his freedom in the form of a 23-month prison sentence when he was convicted of federal dogfighting charges.

"I've just got to see how it works out," Reid said of using Vick. "I think he's worked himself into good enough shape to where he can function in there and do OK. And then I've just got to see. It's been two years since he's been in there."

The Eagles signed Vick to a contract Aug. 13. His first practice was Aug. 15.

His chance to play again created a buzz in the Eagles' locker room Tuesday.

"The last game he played was the one we beat them, so how fitting enough is it that he makes his debut here?" center Jamaal Jackson said.

"I'm sure guys on other teams are excited to see what he can do," Jackson added.

There has been talk of Vick's being used in a Wildcat formation, which Reid said he does not mind running.

Reid said Vick will not play in the fourth quarter, which means the quarterback will play during a meaningful part of the game.

"I'm really just going to take it play by play, see how he adjusts to the game speed," Reid said.

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