Michael Vick has more than just the support of the Philadelphia Eagles front office.
He has the team's starting quarterback by his side.
Kevin Kolb and Vick, fast friends since the Eagles acquired the former Falcons quarterback last August, have been texting back and forth since the June 25th shooting that occurred outside a Virginia Beach nightclub that was hosting the backup quarterback's birthday bash.
"I just told him that it was unfortunate what he had to go through," the Eagles' new starting QB said recently. "I just said, ‘If there’s anything I can do, whatever is I don’t care, just holler.’ And, of course, he said, ‘I appreciate it.’”
Vick is not a suspect in the shooting that maimed a codefendant in the dogfighting case that landed the quarterback in federal prison for 18 months. He has maintained his innocence and has said that he had no prior knowledge before Quan Phillips was shot in the leg.
Virginia Beach police have identified the shooter but have been unable to press charges because they say the victim and several witness have been uncooperative.
The owner of the nightclub has said that video surveillance showed Vick leaving the nightclub four minutes prior to the shooting. The lead prosecutor in the case said that Vick was involved in a "confrontation" earlier at the party. An Eagles source labeled the prosecutor's description of the incident as a "mischaracterization."
Some members of the media and some fans have called for the Eagles to release Vick. Team sources have said that Vick will remain with the team unless something new or revelatory comes out. The NFL is conducting its own investigation.
“I think people misunderstand Michael a little bit," Kolb said. "They don’t understand how good of a guy he is. But I think [Eagles players and coaches] all see that. I just hate – and this is what he’s upset about – that he got his name [dragged] back through the mud. For an outsider looking in … they don’t even know what the story is. They’re just seeing something negative with his name and it looks bad.”
When Vick joined the Eagles a year ago he became the No. 3 quarterback behind Donovan McNabb and Kolb. He was sure not to ruffle Kolb's standing on the team even though he was often on the active game day roster while Kolb, the emergency third quarterback, was not.
With McNabb gone, Vick is now the backup to Kolb. The pair spent much of the off-season working out and practicing together. They were also frequent partners on the golf course.
“He’s one of my better friends on the team," Kolb said. "I love him.”