Saturday, December 27, 2014

Michael Vick dedicates Team Vick Field at Hunting Park

Chip Kelly has yet to name an Eagles starting quarterback, but the North Philadelphia neighborhood of Hunting Park can be excused for favoring Michael Vick over Nick Foles.

Michael Vick dedicates Team Vick Field at Hunting Park

Chip Kelly has yet to name an Eagles starting quarterback, but the North Philadelphia neighborhood of Hunting Park can be excused for favoring Michael Vick over Nick Foles.

Vick's foundation donated $200,000 to the $1.4 million revitalization project that built a new artificial turf field at Hunting Park that was dedicated on Monday. The multipurpose football and soccer field was named Team Vick Field and the Eagles quarterback was on hand for the ceremony.

While he has yet to be named the starter this season, although his performance in the preseason suggets that he likely will, Vick was treated like a superstar by the fans, children, parents and politicians that attended the event.

"We have nothing to do with that," Philadelphia city council president Darrell Clarke said of Kelly's quarterback decision. "But in Hunting Park, you are the starter."

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While Kelly said that he would wait till Monday to decide on which quarterback would start in Saturday's third preseason game at Jacksonville, Vick said that he had yet to hear from his coach.

"I'm still waiting, but at the same time my mind is clear, I'm relaxed," he said. "I'm just enjoying football every day and that's the most important thing. I think everything will take care of itself when need be."

The quarterback competition has dominated most of the talk surrounding the Eagles since training camp opened almost a month ago. Both Vick and Foles have played well, but Vick has been sharper. Kelly said that he would make a decision by the time the Eagles start game planning for the Redskins, their season-opening opponent.

"I'm just working hard, man," Vick said. "I'm just trying to get better as a quarterback each and every day. You know, I'm not really worried about that anymore. I'm just trying to progress and when my number is called I'll be ready."

Vick was joined by Eagles president Don Smolenski. The team also made a contribution, as did former Eagles quarterback and ESPN broadcaster Ron Jaworski, who MC'd the dedication.

Vick was asked what it meant to have his name emblazoned on the field's new scoreboard.

"It means a lot. I'm not from Philadelphia. My hometown is Newport News, Va.," Vick said. "To leave an imprint, to leave a mark in another city where I had an opportunity to play professional football, it will be great for the kids. For them to run out there and see my name up there, it'll inspire them to do the same thing as they grow older and as they maybe become a professional athlete. They'll understand the significance of being a role model."

The North Philly Aztecs youth football team has called the Hunting Park field their home for years, but the Aztecs haven't played a home game there in nearly 20 years because of the condition of the grounds. Little Flower High School's girls soccer teams will also use the field.

Coaches and players from both the Aztecs and Little Flower programs were in attendance for the dedication. Vick signed autographs afterward and tossed a football to several young members of the Aztecs.

"There's a reason why he's loved here in Philadelphia and it's just not the way he throws the ball to DeSean [Jackson]," U.S. Congressman Chaka Fattah said. "But in this case he's throwing a ball that all of us get a chance to put our arms around because it's our children that are the target of this pass."

Jeff McLane Inquirer Staff Writer
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Birds' Eye View is the Inquirer's blog covering all things Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL.

Jeff McLane Inquirer Staff Writer
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