UPDATE: A few hours after getting the news on his reinstatement, Michael Vick scored his first Eagles touchdown. On the first play after Jack Ikegwuonu returned an interception to the Jets' 2, Vick lined up as quarterback in a shotgun formation, with Kevin Kolb split right. Vick faked a handoff and took the ball up the middle himself for the score, which gave the Eagles a 14-7 lead in their final preseason game.
Vick and Kolb were on the field together quite a bit in the early going, with Kolb flanked out.
NEW YORK -- Eagles quarterback Michael Vick will be eligible to play in Week 3, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said today.
Vick is scheduled to play tonight in the preseason finale against the Jets in a substantial role. He then will be able to play against Kansas City on Sept. 27 at the Linc.
Goodell met with Vick and coach Andy Reid earlier today for about 45-50 minutes.
"He has a better feel for the challenges ahead of him," Goodell said during a meeting with reporters at his New York office. "I was pleased with our discussion."
Goodell said he thinks Vick is "making real progress."
Asked why he decided on Week 3, Goodell said, “It’s a step process. I don’t want him to be put in a position where he’s overwhelmed. I’m not at all concerned about the football standpoint. I am interested in what we can do to help him be successful going forward. At the end of the day, it’s a gut check.”
As to why he has been so involved with Vick and why he has been willing to go the extra mile, Goodell said, “There’s so much emphasis on the discipline in the media. But the reality is the resources and what we can do to help men make better decisions. With his unique circumstances, being in jail for 2 years …. Hopefully we can have a success story here that will be good for society in general and good for the NFL.”
Goodell said the fact that Vick signed with the Eagles was not a factor, but he acknowledged that he had spoken with more than one team about their interest in Vick.
The commissioner touched on other Vick-related issues as well:
About Vick reportedly drinking in an airport hotel and whether that was a violation of his probation: "It’s not a violation of his probation or our conditions. But we did discuss it on the phone and discussed it again today. It highlights the tremendous microscope that this man is under. He was at a restraurant at a hotel in which he was staying.
He understands he has very little margin for error. It served as a useful lesson for him."
About Vick being a changed person: "We had a very direct conversation about that. He recognizes he has to earn that opportunity back again. He has to demonstrate to me and others that he can make better judgments going forward.
I told him what I was thinking (regarding his suspension) during our meeting. Something I want to share with you about him sharing the responsibility ... He is very genuine in his remorse."
About whether there is zero tolerance going forward: "This is a step-by-step process here. He recognizes he’s on probation for 3 years (with law)."
About Reid's role in the meeting today: "I had had a general position coming into it. He’s given me useful feedback. He’s very open about the challenges. He knows from his own personal experiences. He’s very interested in Michael as a young man."
About Tony Dungy's role: Goodell said he spoke with Dungy after meeting with Vick and Reid. "[Dungy] has had tremendous influence in this. Firstly, I admire him immensely. But he’s spent an awful lot of time with Michael and has a valuable perspective."
About when Vick will make appearances on behalf of animal rights in Philadelphia: "We talked about that today. He’s done two appearances for the Humane Society. I don’t believe either was in Philly. We all believe he’ll be doing things in the Philadelphia area."
Before the Eagles' final preseason game at the Meadowlands against the Jets Thursday, team president Joe Banner said the team hasn't decided how it will deal with Vick when the 53-man roster limit must be observed on Saturday. The Eagles could either keep Vick as one of the 53, and have just 52 eligible players for the first two games, or they could place him on the exempt list, in which case he would not be eligible to practice.
"I think Michael wants to play as soon as he can," Banner said when asked Vick's reaction. Banner added that he thinks Vick believes the decision is fair "and probably in the range he expected."
"We thought if Michael did the right things, somewhere probably one to three weeks was probably the likely outcome," Banner said. "We appreciate the commissioner's thoughtfulness, and we think this is a good outcome."
Banner said Vick has "been a model citizen at this point." Banner said the team expects to announce soon an animal-rights event that will involve Vick. "We need to just wrap up some details," Banner said. "I think you'll see Michael at an event here fairly soon."