Michael Vick signs a 2 year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles, worth millions
The Philadelphia Eagles have signed former Falcons quarterback Michael Vick to a two-year deal, Eagles president Joe Banner confirmed during halftime of the team’s exhibition game against the New England Patriots on Thursday evening.
Published reports say that Vick will receive $1.6 million for the first year, with an option of $5.2 million for the second.
Vick will return to the NFL after two seasons away, including 18 months in federal prison and five more in home confinement after he was convicted on charges related to dogfighting, and a conditional suspension by the NFL.
The animal-rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, reacted quickly to the news.
“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,” PETA spokesman Dan Shannon told The Associated Press.
The potential exists for Vick to face his former team this season. The Falcons host the Eagles on Dec. 6, the Falcons’ 12th game.
“I am tickled to death,” former Falcons coach Dan Reeves said after hearing the news. “It looked like it wasn’t going to happen for a while there. I am glad someone took a chance on him.”
Eagles coach Andy Reid, in a news conference Thursday night, said he expects Philadelphia fans will give Vick a chance to prove and redeem himself.
“This is America. ... We do make mistakes,” Reid said. “He [Vick] has a chance to prove he’s doing the right things.”
Reid cited Vick’s recent work with the Humane Socieity and speaking to youth groups about the ills of dogfighting.
“I think our fans will understand,” Reid said. “I also think that when you look indepth at this ... the changes he’s made in his life, you’ll see the positive in what he’s trying to do.”
Eagles starting quarterback Donovan McNabb said he was pleased Vick was joining the team and said he “pretty much lobbied to get him here. Everybody deserves a second chance.”
McNabb said he has known Vick since Vick was in high school and has been somewhat of a mentor to him.
The controversial quarterback has gone through a whirlwind of highs and lows since the Falcons drafted him with the first pick in 2001.
He signed a $62 million deal that included a $15 million signing bonus. After a year waiting in the wings, took over the starting position in the 2002 season, and led the team to its first playoff berth since the 1998 Super Bowl.
Sports watchers, at the time, were calling Vick the most athletic player in the league and comparing him to Gayle Sayers and O.J. Simpson in their heydays.
A broken ankle in 2003 shortened his season and stifled the team’s momentum, and Reeves paid the price, losing his job.
The following year Vick gained more yards rushing than any quarterback in league history, leading the Falcons’ to the NFC title game, where they would lose to the Eagles.
His performance for the 2004 season netted him a second career season of MVP talks and a record $130 million contract.
Reeves said it is time for Vick to have the opportunity to get along with his life. He has served his time, Reeves said. Reeves and Vick spoke a few weeks ago. Reeves said he advised Vick about the type of people he associates with.
“Donovan McNabb will be great for him,” he said. “He will be a great quarterback for Vick to associate with.”