EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- NFL commissioner Roger Goodell ruled today that Michael Vick would be suspended the first two games of the season and be reinstated by Week 3 when the Eagles host Kansas City.
Vick, Goodell and Eagles head coach Andy Reid met this morning for 50 minutes at the Newark, N.J. hotel where the team is staying. Goodell then spoke to Vick advisor Tony Dungy for 45 minutes on the phone. Apparently, the commish was satisfied with what he heard.
"He's demonstrating he's committed," Goodell said to about 20 reporters, including The Inquirer's Ashley Fox. "We're looking for a success story. At the end of the day it's a gut check."
Vick, after warming up with Donovan McNabb for tonight's preseason finale against the New York Jets, declined comment.
What do you think of Goodell's decision?
"He doesn't want to talk about it yet," McNabb said.
Eagles president Joe Banner did speak to the issue, saying that Vick will become active in the Philadelphia community in the near future as he promised when he was reinstated.
"I think you'll see Michael at an event here very soon," Banner said. "We're wrapping up some details. As far as the organizational support for the issues around animal rights ... we've been working aggressively with those groups and we have some concrete ideas. It will be at least a few more weeks, maybe a little longer, before you see those things operational ... but I think you'll see Michael at an event fairly soon."
Banner said he believes Vick felt the decision was fair and is eager to get on the field in the regular season for the first time since playing quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons in a New Year's Eve game against the Eagles in 2006.
"I think he thinks this is fair and probably in the range of what he expected," Banner said. "We thought if Michael did the right things, it would probably be one to three weeks, so this is certainly in the range of what we expected. We think this is a good outcome and we look forward to having him."
The Eagles have been satisfied with what they've seen from Vick since he signed with them three weeks ago.
"He has been a model citizen to this point," Banner said. "Whether we're talking about the plans for what he's going to do in the community, the practices in terms of the hours he's put in. He's been here from early in the morning to late in the evening to make sure he's the best he can be. He's done everything we asked him to do."
Though Banner said this brings closure to Vick's suspension, he said it does not bring an end to all the negative publicity that surrounded the quarterback's dogfighting conviction.
"I think Michael realizes it's going to take a long time before he can put this in the rearview mirror," Banner said. "I'm not sure it will ever go away, but he can put it behind him and chart a new path and create a new definition for himself."
Now that the Eagles know when Vick can play, they can proceed with how they'll handle their personnel at quarterback. Banner said Reid will likely discuss those issues after tonight's game. The team has several options:
1. It could keep four quarterbacks -- Donovan McNabb, Kevin Kolb, A.J. Feeley and Vick -- on its 53-man roster when it makes final cuts on Saturday. Vick would be allowed to practice with the team until his reinstatement. But the Eagles would lose an extra player they could use in the first two games.
2. It could keep three quarterbacks -- Donovan McNabb, Kevin Kolb and A.J. Feeley -- on its 53-man roster and add Vick to the commissioner's special exempt list. Vick, however, would not be allowed to practice. Upon Vick's reinstatement, the Eagles would likely either trade or release Feeley.
3. They could trade/waive Feeley by Saturday, and keep McNabb, Kolb and Vick on the 53-man roster. The Eagles, though, would only have two quarterbacks eligible to play in the first two games.
4. They could trade/waive Feeley by Saturday, keep McNabb and Kolb on the 53-man roster, and deem Vick as exempt. This would allow the Eagles to carry an extra player that they normally wouldn't for the first two games. Still, they would only have two eligible quarterbacks for the Carolina and New Orleans games.
More than likely, the Eagles will choose one of the latter three options, although Reid said on Tuesday that he would like to have Vick practice if it all possible.Several teams have been rumored to be suitors for Feeley. New England seems the hot choice.
The other thing for the Eagles to consider by Week 3 is how they will handle the "Third Quarterback" rule. Since they intend to use Vick in the "Wildcat" package (or whatever you want to call it) throughout the game, he would likely have to be listed as the No. 2 quarterback so that the Eagles don't lose an extra player. The team could simply activate all three quarterbacks -- McNabb, Kolb and Vick -- but it would lose that 46th player the "Third Quarterback" rule affords.
The Eagles, meanwhile, play their final preseason game tonight against the Jets at the Meadowlands. Vick is slated to split second half snaps with Feeley. Kolb will play the entire first half. Vick will likely be also used in various ways during the first 30 minutes.
Check back for more.