BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- Michael Vick further clarified comments he made in a GQ article that implied that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell steered the quarterback away from the Bengals and the Bills and toward the Eagles after he was released from prison.
Asked if Goodell persuaded him to sign with the Eagles in Aug. 2009, Vick said, "Absolutely not, Absolutely not. The decision ultimately came down to me and my agent [Joel Segal]. ... The commissioner had no say in what happened, he just gave me the opportunity to come back."
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello released a statement on Thursday that Goodell did not influence Vick's decision.
Still, some fans in Cincinnnati and Buffalo took exception to the notion that the commissioner would interfere and detract from their teams.
"As a competitor you want to play, of course Cincinnati and Buffalo [were] on the table at the time and I had to evaluate my situation and how my body felt," Vicks said after the Eagles lost to the Steelers, 24-14, in Thursday night's preseason game. "I wanted to be with Andy [Reid]. I knew that I was going to to have to sit but I knew it was going to pay great dividends – I couldn’t see it at the time."
Vick had a rough outing against the Steelers. He said the GQ furor did not affect his performance. He tossed three interceptions in only one half of play and completed just 5 of 12 passes for 47 yards.
"Once we got down 14 nothing I just started pressing the issue," Vick said. "I think that’s the time when you have to be cautious and you have to be patient. I knew I was only going to be in for two quarters and just wanted to put some points up on the board and just pressed the issue too hard."
Talk about the Eagles being a "Dream Team," after a frenzy of free agent signings, proved to be premature -- at least for now.
"We feel like we have a great team," Vick said. "We are capable of doing some big things this upcoming season. We are in a very humble state right now. ... We got a piece of humble pie today."
In all, the Eagles had five turnovers. Backup Vince Young also tossed an interception. Rookie running back Dion Lewis fumbled.
"The obvious is too many turnovers and our inability to get off the field against a good football team," Reid said. "It's preseason and we're working on things, learning as we go, but still, you've got to do better than we did tonight."
The first-team defense allowed 262 total yards and three touchdowns in the first half.
"We are all in this thing together, we all stunk tonight," Reid said.
The defense was without starting defensive tackles Antonio Dixon (back spasms) and Mike Patterson (seizure), but the Eagles linebackers, especially rookie middle linebacker Casey Matthews, struggled.
"We can take a lot from it, learn from it, also put the dream team thing to rest, we still gotta prove ourselves," Matthews said.
The Eagles have two preseason games and three weeks to get it right before the start of the season on Sept. 11.
"Obviously we weren't ready to play," guard Todd Herremans said. "We went out there and they kind of kicked our ass, plain and simple."
-- Wide receiver Jason Avant had a right knee contusion. "I'm good," he said after the game.
-- Defensive end Trent Cole's elbow swelled up. He said he was fine. Defensive end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim had a hamstring strain.