NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said today he has spoken to Michael Vick three times in the past two weeks and that the Eagles quarterback had "no intention" of attending the Super Bowl parties being promoted under his name.
"He has said that on numerous occasions people have been using his name," Goodell said, clearly implying that it was done without Vick's permission.
Goodell also praised Vick's progress off the field this year.
"We're looking for success stories ... he paid a significant price, and now he's doing the right thing."
Goodell, meeting with reporters in Texas, was asked about the dispute over whether or not teams can use the franchise tag to keep star players -- such as Vick -- even with the collective bargaining agreement set to expire.
He didn't have much reassurance for teams, such as the Eagles, who are likely to use the tag.
Goodell said he expects that if NFL Players Association thinks the franchise tag can't be used, that they would challenge "through the normal process."
That likely means taking the issue to the NFL's special master, or including the use of the tag in the ongoing CBA give-and-take. The NFL has said teams can still use the tag, even with the CBA expiring. The NFLPA disputes that.
If the tag is somehow invalidated, the Eagles lose one tool for keeping Vick in green. Working in their favor, though, is that if there is no resolution and a lockout begins, Vick won't be able to sign anywhere else once his contract expires anyway. Expect the issue to become a part of the ongoing bargaining.
It seems unlikely that the tag will go away entirely and that the Eagles would be denied a player protection tool that has long existed, but until the deal is finalized, the situation adds just one more nagging question to an offseason with many already.
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