ATLANTIC CITY -- Two days after he signed a one-year contract with the Eagles, Michael Vick was here to accept the Maxwell Football Club's Bert Bell Award as professional football's most valuable player for last season.
Vick was at the Harrah's along with his coach Andy Reid, also an award-winner, as the NFL continued negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement in Washington. The owners and players agreed to a one-day extension on Thursday which made the Maxwell Club media session on Friday a little less uncomfortable.
If the owners had locked out the players as of Thursday at midnight Reid and Vick would not have been permitted to talk.
"Yeah, that would have been weird," Vick said.
But Vick and Reid instead embraced each other and talked briefly following their introductions. The two will have at least another year together. Vick signed the team's one-year franchise tender on Wednesday and will stand to make at least $16 million next season
“I’m very excited about the opportunity to come back and play in the city of Philadelphia," Vick said. "When I first signed with Philadelphia I didn’t think it would last as long. I thought I would be there one year and here I am on my third year."
Vick added that he wants to finish his career with the Eagles and that he "would love to finish his career with Andy." He said there has been no mention of a long-term deal with the Eagles, but it is likely Vick gets an extension once a new CBA is in place.
"We haven't talked about long-term negotiations or my future," Vick said. "We just talked about what can get done this year. I think that anything else that happns is solely on me. I think I dictate that situation based on my play and performance and my actions on and off the field. So that ball is in my court.”
As with what seems like every Vick appearance of late there was a very minor controversy. ESPN's First Take was telling its viewers that Vick was going to be on the show just before the Maxwell Club media session. There was a camera on the stage ready to shoot the quarterback. But Vick never did the interview.
First Take host Dana Dana Jacobsen then reportedly said that the Eagles "pulled the interview." Co-host Jay Crawford said, "We've been Oprah'd," referring to Vick recently pulling out of a sit-down with the talk show icon.
But Vick and the Eagles didn't know about the First Take interview beforehand, a team spokesman said.
Maxwell Club emcee "Lou Tilley booked Michael for an interview with ESPN and never asked Michael or [the Eagles] or any Vick representative in advance," the spokesman said.
The Maxwell Club later said they had made an error.
Vick's people said he could not attend a "What It Takes" symposium on Monday because of a scheduling conflict and a few weeks ago he backed out of a scheduled appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
“I will definitely go on Oprah’s show," Vick said. "At some point I just thought the timing wasn’t right based on everything that was going on – the contract, the CBA. There were certain things that I really didn’t want to touch on at the time. I feel like I need to do more in order to be on those shows so I can talk about the past and talk about the present and how prosperous things are, how bad they were and how we can move forward.”
Vick, of course, led the Eagles to the NFC East title last year after he took over for the injured Kevin Kolb in Week 1. With the Eagles committed to Vick for next season there has been a lot of speculation over where Kolb could end up. Kolb has said that he wants to start, whether that's for the Eagles or for some other team.
“We’ll see down the road here," Reid said when asked about Kolb's future with the team. "We would love to have Kevin back, obviously, as our second quarterback."
Many teams are expected to want Kolb, but there can be no player movement until there is a new CBA. If there isn't an agreement before the draft, Kolb could very well be back as Vick's backup. That could alter how the Eagles approach a long-term deal with Vick.
“I just want to play football," Vick said. "If I don’t get the extension then I don’t. At the same time, I want this organization to know that I’ll do anything I can to help us with football games in 2011. That’s my primary goal.”
If there is a lockout Vick said that he will gather his receivers and running backs for workouts
“Oh yes. My responsibility this off-season is to make sure everybody comes into training camp ready to play," Vick said. "Get with the young guys, get with the running backs, get out there and we throw and we build camaraderie."
And where would that be?
“It will be wherever we agree to be collectively, wherever we want to go," Vick said. "Maybe Florida. Maybe Hawaii. We’re going to get our work in.”
Vick touched on a few other topics:
ON WHETHER HE NEEDS TO IMPROVE IN CERTAIN AREAS:
“I watched a lot quarterbacks around this league and one person in particular I’ve been watching lately was Aaron Rodgers. I’ve got the utmost respect for his game. ... He just won a Super Bowl. Kind of follow that blueprint.”
ON THE OFF-SEASON AS THE STARTER:
“This is going to be a great off-season. I'm going to have so much more time to prepare, so much more time to study and figure out what I need to get done. Last year I was in a different role. When you’re a backup and with the potential I had I felt like I needed to do enough to show my coaches that I was worthy of being a backup on this team and why I should make the money I was making.”
ON HIS PHYSICAL CONDITION:
“Honestly, physically I feel better than I did last year this time around. I think because my body is healed. Last year I worked out very hard but I didn’t have a chance to rest. Now that I got the chance to rest, I went in the weight room the other day and benched 80-pound dumbbells 15 times with ease and I really haven't worked out.”
ON WHETHER HE NEEDS TO CHANGE HIS STYLE OF PLAY:
“I do think I need to play smarter. I do think I need to eliminate the unnecessary hits.”