Why Vick avoided the Raiders

Every time a disgraced NFL player emerges from prison, rehab or the doghouse of another team, the Raiders --with just reason -- are assumed to be a likely landed spot for said player. Oakland owner Al Davis has handed out his fair share of second chances.

When Michael Vick was released from prison, the Raiders -- the Eagles' Sunday opponent -- were instantly among the candidates pundits thought the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback would consider playing for. Aside from Davis' history, Oakland didn't exactly have the greatest situation under center even though former No. 1 overall draft pick JaMarcus Russell was the starting signal caller.

Vick could have entered a situation in which he would have fought for a starting spot. Instead he landed in Philadelphia where he's the third-stringer and an occasionally-used "Wildcat" (or decoy). It might seem like an odd choice still to this day, but Vick's post-incarceration mentor, Tony Dungy, said he steered his protege away from one of worst franchises in the NFL.

"I advised Michael Vick not to go there," Dungy said Sunday on NBC's Football Night in America. "I said, 'Mike, you might be able to start there but that is not a good place for you.' "

Vick said his decision not to play for Oakland had less to do with its situation and more to do with the opportunity the Eagles offered.

"When I got released from prison I didn't care where I would have played," Vick said today. "It really didn't come off like that. I think coach Dungy wanted me to be in a place where I was going to be protected and [where] I just wouldn't have a lot of pressure on me."

"If I would have went [to Oakland], there just would have been a lot of quarterback controversy. I think the most important thing is for JaMarcus to get his reps and get a feel for the game and play to prove he can play in this league. You don't get too many years to prove that."

Raiders coach Tom Cable said that his team never really pursued bringing Vick West.

"When Mike got ready to play again we had four quarterbacks on our roster," Cable said during a conference call today. "It was never something that was seriously considered."

Over the last few weeks, Vick has been a little more open about discussing his hopes for someday starting again at quarterback. He said that it's the position in which he feels most comfortable, although he hasn't openly pined for Donovan McNabb's job (not that he would even be the first consideration). Asked today if he's considering the rest of this season as a tryout for other teams, Vick wisely played the team player.

"I can't look beyond what can happen this year," Vick said. "The most important thing is to focus on today and the game that we have this week. I'm here to help this football team win and I can't look too far down the road because I don't know what the future holds for me. I got to enjoy this season, enjoy being in this locker room and enjoy being with the guys, and if I'm here in a year or two, that's what it is." 

Todd Herremans, meanwhile, returned to practice today. His participation was limited to individual drills, and coach Andy Reid said that Herremans wouldn't take part in any contact portion of practice. "We're not rushing him back," Reid said. The Eagles have used a three-guard rotation with Nick Cole, Max Jean-Gilles and Stacy Andrews in the last three games. Cole has primarily played at Herreman's position -- left guard.

Herremans, for his part, said that he was "stoked" to be back. He didn't have a gauge of when he would return, although the Oct. 26 game at Washington seems to be the target date.

Reid also said that Kevin Curtis would practice today, but that his participation would be limited. Curtis has missed the last two games with a left knee sprain. Cornerback Sheldon Brown (abdominal strain) was healthy enough to practice, Reid said.

Cornerback Dimitri Patterson (hamstring) was held out of practice and won't likely play Sunday at Oakland.