Michael Vick will play in the Eagles' preseason game on Thursday night against Jacksonville, head coach Andy Reid announced today.
It will be the first time Vick has been eligible to play after being suspended by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for dogfighting. Goodell ruled that Vick could play in the final two preseason games and then will be suspended for 0 to 5 weeks to start the regular season.
"Michael will have an opportunity to play," said Reid. "We'll just see how we use Mike." Reid said the Eagles will "take it play by play, see how he adjusts to game speed."
Reid said the starters -- presumably including Donovan McNabb -- will play about three quarters and Kevin Kolb will play quarterback in the fourth quarter. Reid wouldn't directly address what this leaves for Vick, but the upshot would seem to be a "Wildcat" role, quarterbacking down near the other team's goalline, most likely. We're probably talking about no more than a handful of snaps.
Should Michael Vick be booed or cheered in Thursday's preseason game?
Vick hasn't played in a game since New Year's Eve, 2006, when the Falcons' season ended with a loss to the Eagles at the Linc.
"Just like you have to see, I have to see" whether Vick really is ready for game speed, Reid said.
“He wants to get in," Reid said. "He’s kind of set this as the goal, as did we, the third game. You’ve seen him out there conditioning after practice, he’s conditioning before practice and so on. I think he’s excited to get out there. I’m sure he’ll have a couple butterflies with it being a couple years since he’s been in, but I think he’s excited to get back to doing what he does.”
The list of Eagles who won't play Thursday did not include running back Brian Westbrook. "We'll just see how that goes," Reid said, when asked whether that meant Westbrook would play three quarters, with the other starters. Westbrook has not played in the preseason, after June ankle surgery.
Among the players who will not play are linebacker Omar Gaither, cornerback Sheldon Brown, fullback Leonard Weaver, defensive end Darren Howard, linebacker Charleston Hughes, linebacker Tracy White and offensive linemen Shawn Andrews and Todd Herremans.
That means that left tackle Jason Peters and right guard Stacy Andrews will play, making life at least a little easier for whomever is the quarterback and in whatever formation.
To read our earlier post about the Eagles adding a tight end and linebacker, click here.
Breaking news for some of the commenters below: The post clearly states Vick last played on New Year's Eve in 2006 against the Eagles at the Linc, the last game of the season for the Falcons. Not responsible for your problems with reading comprehension.
Also, for the person who seems to remember Vick playing against the Eagles in the 2007 opener, you seem to remember wrong. That was the 2005 opener, when Trotter was ejected.
Overall, I'd be kind of embarrassed to critique something when I didn't know what the hell I was talking about, but then, oh yeah, my NAME is on what I write, isn't it?