The head of the Eagles Youth Partnership has written a letter to donors in an effort to address concerns about the Eagles’ signing of Michael Vick.
The letter is dated last Wednesday and was sent with a transcript of the comments Jeffrey Lurie made at Vick’s introductory news conference. In the letter, EYP executive director Sarah Martinez-Helfman tries to separate the football decisions involving player moves from the work of the team’s charitable organization.
EYP was founded in June 1995 and "serves over 50,000 low income children in the Greater Philadelphia region every year with a focus on health and education programming," according to the team's Web site. Among its most well-known programs are the Book Mobile and the Eye Mobile.
The letter also addresses the background information the team gathered before signing Vick, sentiments similar to those the Eagles wrote to suitesholders and premium ticketholders on the day Vick was introduced.
Here is the text of the letter:
Since the announcement that the Philadelphia Eagles have signed Michael Vick, I have spoken with some of the Eagles Youth Partnership’s supporters. We hope you know how important your support is every day for the more than 50,000 children we serve each year who face daunting odds. These children encounter dangerous circumstances and decisions daily in their neighborhoods that can land them in jail or worse. Our impact on these children is made in the winter, spring, summer and fall, when the football team is on the field, and when they are off. Regardless of who became the Eagles’ last draft pick, which trade the team made recently, or which player was cut, the Eagles Youth Partnership’s mission is steady and unwavering.
This was a complicated and personal issue for the Eagles. Before signing Michael, many opinions were considered, including those we deeply value, from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy, and the president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, Wayne Pacelle. Each of these individuals has spoken about their belief that Michael is truly remorseful. But more importantly, Eagles’ leadership has spent a considerable amount of time with Michael himself and believe in his potential to perform well on the field and do good in the community. Along these lines, I have enclosed the transcript of Jeffrey Lurie’s comment regarding Michael Vick so that you can better understand how and why he was signed as a Philadelphia Eagle.
For now, we want to make sure you know that Eagles Youth Partnership is very sensitive to the issue and remains committed to providing the children of the Delaware Valley with eyeglasses, books, playgrounds and other programs that will help ensure that those youngsters will grow up to have every opportunity to fulfill their true potential.
We also want you to know how much we have appreciated your support.
Executive Director, Eagles Youth Partnership
KEVIN KOLB'S ROLE
While Andy Reid has yet to fully explain just how Michael Vick will fit into the quarterback rotation, he has been steadfast that Kevin Kolb is the backup quarterback, despite the logistical problem that seems to create with the NFL rules on how the gameday roster is structured.
Reid has said he pulled Kolb aside after the signing of Vick to assure him of his place.
"That gives me confidence to know that they have confidence and trust in me," Kolb told the Forth Worth Star-Telegram Saturday. "I think it’s a unique situation [with Vick]. They told me it has nothing to do with my injury or my camp. I had a good camp. We’ll just see how this plays out. I’m not sure if anybody knows what to expect. He’s here to help the team, and we’re trying to win a Super Bowl this year. So that’s the mentality."
Kolb turns 25 on Monday and has played in just seven games during that time. Still, he told the newspaper, as he has told the local media this summer, that he feels like he has a good grasp of the offense and just needs game experience.
"[The offense] is very natural," Kolb said. "I feel as confident and as comfortable in this system as I did in the system I ran with [Art] Briles in high school and college. I just lack that game-time experience, and once I can get that, we’ll see where I am, and I can hopefully be a starter [in the NFL] for however many years."