Michael Vick returned to Eagles practice Monday and addressed reporters for the first time since he was sidelined by a concussion Nov. 11 against Dallas.
Vick said he would embrace the opportunity to help rookie Nick Foles, designated the starter the rest of the way for the 4-10 Eagles by head coach Andy Reid.
"That's just the way things are right now," he said, when asked about not being the starter, perhaps ever again here. "I have to roll with the punches and deal with it, make the most of it, continue to work hard, try to get better, continue to help Nick out, continue to help (backup Trent Edwards), continue to help this football team, do my job as a leader ... regardless if I'm the starter or the third-string quarterback."
Asked if he agreed with Reid's decision, Vick said: "I'm a competitor, and I've always felt like and will continue to feel like I'm one of the best and can play at a high level ... I want to be out there, I want to play, but it's just not the ideal situation right now ... I have to accept my role, accept it like a man, continue to find positives out of it."
Vick said he doesn't know his future here, doesn't think sitting out the end of the season will affect his ability to get another job. The Eagles will have to pay him at least $15.5 million next season, unless he redoes his contract, but only $3 million of that money is guaranteed, and if is only guaranteed if Vick remains on the roster two days past the start of the offseason waiver period, typically two days after the Super Bowl. The Eagles can release Vick before then without any obligation or 2013 cap hit.
Asked of he wanted to stay here as a backup next year, Vick said he didn't know, would have to discuss that with agent Joel Segal, but he feels "I have a lot of football left in me, a lot left in my tank ... the future will take care of itself."
Vick also said that as has been speculated, he feels he actually suffered the concussion on the next-to-last snap he played vs. Dallas, when he was pancaked by the Cowboys' Jay Ratliff as Vick slid along the turf at the end of a run. "I was woozy," Vick said. Then, on a third-down incompletion to LeSean McCoy, Vick was pushed backward by former teammate Ernie Sims and hit his head on the turf. At that point, he said, he knew he had to come out because "I couldn't see."
This highlights one of the main difficulties of the NFL's quest to do a better job of dealing with concussions: you can't always know from the sideline when one has occurred. The player has to be willing to come out of the game, and as Vick said Monday, he was not, until he hit his head again, which might have dramatically affected the severity of the injury.
"The player that I am, man, when I'm out there, I'm going for the kill," Vick said. "If I'm not lying there and can't get up, then I'm going to get up for the next play and I'm going to give it everything I've got. That's just me, and maybe sometimes it can be, you know, sorta selfish, but I only know one way."
Asked about the perceived conflict a few weeks ago between the Vick camp and the Eagles over the imPACT tests Vick couldn't pass, Vick said: "I just roll with the punches. I don't question that. They're professionals, just like we're professionals in what we do. I respect their opinions and their judgment. Right now I feel healthy and I feel good."
Vick said that after being given a second chance to star in the NFL, following more than a year and a half in prison for dogfighting, "I can't be upset or disgruntled about anything ... This is what I love, and I realized that today, throwing balls on the scout team."