NEW ORLEANS - Nearly two years after his release from incarceration, Michael Vick returned to prison.
The Eagles quarterback, of course, returned a free man and he was not visiting Leavenworth Federal Prison in Kansas, where he served 19 months.
Vick made an appearance at the Avon Park Correctional Institute, located 100 miles south of Orlando, on Saturday. He was there at the request of mentor Tony Dungy, who often visits prisons with his spiritual message.
Vick spoke to about 700 inmates, signed autographs, and spent about five hours at the facility, according to Peter King of Sports Illustrated. King, who appears on NBC's Sunday Night Football along with Dungy, tagged along for the visit.
Vick, who signed a one-year contract with the Eagles earlier this month, was received at Avon Park with great adulation, according to King. "I want to be an instrument of change," Vick said to the inmates, according to the report.
King shared two anecdotes from his day with the quarterback. Vick had previously spoken about how, when he was at Leavenworth, several other prisoners convinced him to play in a game of flag football. The Sports Illustrated story provided more detail.
Vick originally wanted to quarterback for both teams, but one team wanted the opportunity to say it had beaten an NFL star. It did not. Vick's team won, 42-14 - although, he said, he tossed six or seven interceptions.
"All my guys wanted to do was go deep," Vick said.
Vick also confided in King about his four-night stay in solitary confinement at an Atlanta prison. Vick had a stopover in Atlanta while being transported to Richmond, Va., for a bankruptcy hearing about a month before his May 2009 release.
During the drive to Atlanta, in which he was shackled to his seat, the former franchise quarterback for the Falcons said that he traveled past a golf course he often used to frequent and other familiar sights.
As for his visit to Avon Park and his return to prison shackle-free, Vick said, "It was therapeutic for me."
Late Sunday night, Eagles running back LeSean McCoy tweeted: "Tuesday get this surgery . . . Can't wait"
The Eagles had made no previous mention of McCoy needing surgery and a team spokesman did not respond to a request for comment on Monday. The team cannot have contact with its players during the NFL lockout.
McCoy did not miss a game to injury last season, although he did play through pain, having broken ribs in early October. The Eagles rested the second-year player in the meaningless season finale, but McCoy did play in all of the Eagles' 21-16 playoff loss to Green Bay.
Messages left with McCoy were not answered.
Eagles wide receiver Jason Avant will be honored by Turning Points for Children at its April 8 Kids at Heart Benefit Gala at the Piazza in Northern Liberties.
Avant is being recognized for overcoming a difficult childhood in Chicago, where his parents abandoned him. He also earned the Ed Block Courage Award this season, as voted on by his teammates.
Eagles' Michael Vick and Tony Dungy visit a Florida prison. E3