In the locked out NFL world, today counts as a busy day for the Eagles. Michael Vick talked about welcoming Plaxico Burress and plans for more team work outs, Andy Reid talked Plax and training camp, and even owner Jeffrey Lurie weighed in on the column-filling rumor that is a 6-5 free agent receiver.
This all came as Vick endorsed a company that he says helped protect his ribs and legs after he suffered injuries last year and the Eagles held their annual playground building event, though without any players present.
I’ve got a chat at 2 p.m., so I’m going to touch on the topics quickly here.
Vick this morning told CNBC “I think we all as Philadelphia Eagles would love to have Plaxico. I think he'd be a great fit,” according to the network’s Darren Rovell.
Vick was more measured when meeting with reporters later.
“I would welcome anybody to Philadelphia if Philadelphia wanted to bring him in as a player,” Vick said. He later said, “I wouldn’t mind having him. Anytime there’s a great player available and we can make that acquisition for our team, then it’s a great thing. But there’s a lot of moving parts, a lot of things has to happen.”
Asked if there would be enough passes to go around to all the receivers, Vick said, “I’m pretty sure coach can figure it out.”
He said he hasn’t spoken to Burress but if he did offer advice about returning to football after a long layoff in prison he’d tell the receiver to take his time and “think your family first and football second.”
Reid offered his standard “we haven’t done anything yet,” when asked about the idea of adding Burress to his offense or even evaluating the possibility.
Lurie, who had a hand in deciding to bring Vick to the Eagles after his prison term, said any player with character questions would have to show that he can fit into the team culture and community for the Eagles to sign him. While Eagles coaches can evaluate Burress on tape, Lurie said the team would have to meet with the receiver to gauge his fit for the team, and that’s not possible during the lockout.
“Any player if there’s issues off the field, we have to ascertain that the player is going to represent Philadelphia really well while he’s here, that’s the key,” Lurie said. “If the players isn’t going to be able to be part of the culture then we have, then I don’t think it’s a good fit.”
He added, “We evaluate case by case.” When the team signed Vick, they explored how he is as a teammate and his motivation.
Workouts to resume
Vick said he’s been back in the Philadelphia area working out and plans to get teammates together again for more throwing within the next two weeks. Vick was part of some early workout sessions, but the crowd of players has dwindled in recent days to the point where Mike Kafka is sometimes throwing to just one receiver. Vick said the team plans to gather for some more intensive activities soon. As for himself, he said he’s even stronger than last offseason.
“I’m actually stronger than I was last year,” Vick said. “I’ve got my own workout regimen and things that I do to help build my speed and increase my speed.”
No call on Lehigh
Reid said he had not yet made a decision on if training camp will be at Lehigh or in Philadelphia at the NovaCare Complex. He said the team still has time and flexibility with the decision.
Asked about whether rookies can be counted on to play a big role this year, given the shortened offseason program, Reid said, “I don’t think it’ll make it easier, but I think it can still be done.”
With news of talks resuming between owners and players, Lurie expressed hope for a deal relatively soon.
“When people are talking, it’s progress. When it’s about lawyers, it’s not,” Lurie said. He will not be part of the negotiations quietly going on between players and owners, he said.
Eagles Playground Build
Lurie, Reid and all other Eagles employees, along with a number of other volunteers and some of the team’s vendors, were at the team’s annual playground build at the John Moffet Elementary School in Kensington. It’s a nice event where the team and assorted helpers build a playground at a needy school and paint murals (Reid, Howard Mudd and Juan Castillo were among those with paint on their hands; Howie Roseman was working a wheel barrow). Usually the players are there to help, but with the lockout, none were on hand. A group of children instead crowded around Lurie for autographs, though you get the sense it wasn’t with quite the same excitement as if it had been DeSean Jackson.
Vick endorses local company
Vick spoke at an event endorsing padding made by Unequal, a Kennett Square-based company offering what they describe as “ballistic grade” Kevlar pads.
Vick said he wore padding from the company after he hurt his ribs against the Redskins and again after bruising his thigh late in the season.
“I got hit a few times in the chest and got right back up without feeling it,” Vick said.
The pads, thinner than regular padding, can protect athletes with less bulk, according to the company’s president Robert Vito. Along with helping Vick, Unequal also provided padding to Brent Celek and LeSean McCoy, four Steelers who played in the Super Bowl and to members of the Boston Bruins, Vito said.
Unequal is selling the pads as “supplemental” pads that can be added to existing equipment.