Not surprisingly, Eagles chairman Jeffrey Lurie's annual state of the team training camp address was dominated today by questions about Michael Vick, the day after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell met with Vick and prescribed additional support measures for the reinstated quarterback.
Lurie explained his feeling about why Vick should remain on the team, despite Lurie's stern words a year ago when Vick was signed about the lack of a margin for error. The 30th birthday party in Virginia Beach at which Vick dogfighting codefendant Quanis Phillips was shot in the leg was a "lapse in judgment," and not "wrongdoing," which would have terminated Vick's opportunity to be an Eagle, Lurie said.
Lurie said Vick was trying to satisfy old friends and relatives by having the party, which Lurie said "it was a mistake for him to be at," but one motivated by a desire to not be seen as forgetting where he came from. Lurie said the additional support measures Goodell mentioned would somehow include grappling with the issue of how players with inner-city backgrounds can steer clear of trouble without divorcing themselves from their loved ones. He didn't clarify how that could be done.
Earlier, Vick indicated he was fine with the warning he received from Goodell in their Tuesday evening meeting.
Lurie said he based his interpretation of Vick's acts on investigations by by law enforcement and the NFL, the results of which have not been made public, though Virginia Beach police have said they are confident they know who shot Phillips and that it was not Vick. Fans are just going to have to trust those investigations, he said, after saying he could not clarify what happened at the party.
While the June 25 party was being investigated, Lurie said, "I had angst about it. If there was wrongdoing, there was no way we were going to continue with Michael and his career."
Lurie wouldn't say exactly what might trigger Vick's dismissal going forward. "He needs not to have those lapses in judgment like that," he said.
The message to the public and other players from the team's handling of this episode, Lurie said, is that "the Eagles are an organization that will think it through."
Lurie also heartily endorsed the possible 18-game regular season, which he cast in terms of trying to save fans from the boredom of four preseason games, and endorsed the move from Donovan McNabb to Kevin Kolb. Lurie called McNabb "the best quarterback, I think, the Eagles have ever had -- classy, terrific in every way." But
at one point, Lurie seemed to imply that the organization might have parted ways with McNabb a little earlier if his recovery from the 2006 torn ACL hadn't muddled his trade value.
In making the decision to go with Kolb, Lurie said, "there wasn't the sense that this was a dropoff situation."
Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said WR Jeremy Maclin is "day to day, bone bruise." Maclin injured his left knee on the final play of Tuesday afternoon's workout.
The hit of the morning came with Eldra Buckley's forward progress clearly stopped, when Stew Bradley swooped in and blasted the running back so hard he separated Buckley's dreads from their helmet, and left Buckley in need of trainers' assistance to stand up.
Buckley noted that Bradley, who missed the 2009 season with a torn ACL, is "trying to get back in a game mode. I'm not mad at him."
"I don't know exactly what happened," Buckley said. "I know he caught me, and he won that battle."
After practice, reporters listened to a presentation on new rules and changes in emphasis for 2010. You could make the case that Buckley was a defenseless player, hit in the neck or head, and that Bradley will get not cheers but a 15-yard penalty if he makes that hit in the regular season. Or, cheers and a 15-yard penalty.
Other standout moments:
*There was a lot of goalline work, with all the offensive and defensive units. The hitters were ahead of the pitchers, across the board -- not many touchdowns were scored. We're going to have to go to subcategories here. Pretend it's a term paper.
A. Omar Gaither and Akeem Jordan stood up Charles Scott on one of the first reps.
B . Brandon Graham swept past Leonard Weaver's desperate dive and hurried a Kevin Kolb pass that sailed out the back of the end zone.
C. Eldra Buckley was stuffed on an attempt that got off to a bad start, an o-lineman stepped on Michael Vick's foot and nearly caused a fumble.
D. A Vick bootleg left worked just fine, No. 7 cruising over the goalline standing.
E. Trent Cole pressure led to a Vick scramble that also ended with him scoring.
F. Mike Kafka rolled right and put a TD pass into a tight spot, hitting Clay Harbor.
*Winston Justice seemed to be figuring out Brandon Graham a bit in one-on-one drills, but Graham again left Mike McGlynn in the dust.
*Catch of the day came from Riley Cooper, who saw Kevin Kolb's pass deflected at the line by Darryl Tapp, broke off his pattern and made a diving grab for a 10-yard gain.