Vick an Eagle

Michael Vick, the former NFL star who fell from grace after running and operating a dogfighting ring and serving 18 months of jail time, signed a one year contract with the Eagles on Thursday night.  Vick’s committed his crime in Newport News, VA, where he managed the dogfights with his childhood friends. Now, his contract with the Eagles includes a team option for a second year and is worth $1.6 million.  Vick’s signing has sparked debate and scrutiny in Philadelphia, along with the rest of the country, due to the heinous crimes Vick committed.

Eagles coach Andy Reid strongly supports Vick.

Reid said, “As long as people go through the right process, they deserve a second chance.”

Some believe that Reid’s sons, who have both encountered trouble with the law, have influenced Reid’s philosophy that everyone deserves a second chance. They believe that Reid seeks the same second chance for his two sons.

On the contrary, not everyone in the Eagles organization supports Vick’s signing.  Owner Jeffrey Lurie, the man who ultimately signs off on all major decisions, struggled morally with allowing Vick to sign with his team. As a dog lover, Lurie was uncertain if Vick should be allowed on the team after his horrid crime with dogs.

“Meeting with Michael, I felt the self hatred, I felt the remorse,” said Lurie, who then began to believe Vick would be proactive in preventing further harm to animals in inner cities.

Lurie not only met with Vick but also his mentor and former NFL coach, Tony Dungy, as well as NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

The most surprising supporter of bringing Vick to Philadelphia was Eagles starting quarterback Donovan McNabb.  McNabb reportedly initiated the pursuit of Vick when he text messaged Reid in July after commissioner Goodell reinstated Vick to the NFL. The text simply read, “sign him.”

In the past, McNabb has not reacted well to competition in the quarterback position (such as when the team drafted quarterback Kevin Kolb or when the fans shouted for Jeff Garcia to start a game after his great success as an Eagles’ backup).  However, McNabb and Vick are great friends, so McNabb wanted to give Vick a chance to turn his life around.

Now, the most interesting part of the journey will begin with one question: Can Vick stay true to his word and be a crusader against animal cruelty?  If he follow through with that and help Reid, McNabb, Lurie and the rest of the Eagles’ fans capture the elusive Super Bowl Championship, the risk will surely have paid off.

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