Around league, positive vibes on Vick signing

Posted: August 16, 2009

Osi Umenyiora understands that he is supposed to dislike the Eagles. But that didn't stop the New York Giants defensive end from appreciating what his rivals to the south did in signing Michael Vick.

"A lot of people didn't have the [guts] to make a move like that. But they did," Umenyiora told reporters Friday at Giants training camp in Albany, N.Y. "As much as I hate to say this, because I've kind of been bred to hate that franchise, I'm happy for them. I think they did a good thing."

Umenyiora is not alone. Players and coaches around the NFL are glad that the Eagles are giving Vick a second chance, even though it may mean they'll have to face the dynamic player again.

"It will be very difficult," Redskins coach Jim Zorn said on Friday. "It will be interesting to see how he works in with the Eagles. Unfortunately, he is in our division. He has been out for a couple of years, but a guy like that will be so fired up."

Dallas Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said he was not surprised to see Vick back.

"He's too good of a player," Phillips told reporters on Friday. "I knew somebody would pick him up. I didn't know who it would be."

Former Indianapolis Colts coach and Vick mentor Tony Dungy said he was not surprised at the positive reaction he received from teams when he began searching for a destination for Vick. Dungy said at least 12 teams initially expressed interest. That was whittled to three serious options, agent Joel Segal said, with some looking at Vick as a starter.

Players have sympathized with Vick lately. Terrell Owens wanted Vick reinstated immediately rather than NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's conditional reinstatement.

"I think it's great for Michael," Giants quarterback Eli Manning said on Friday. "He's a guy who deserves a second chance."

The head man whose office sits across the street from the Eagles, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, said he would be willing to take on a player with a troubled history like Vick's. But second baseman Chase Utley, who is heavily involved with animal-rights activism with his wife, Jen, declined comment on Vick. Utley has a dog and two cats.

"Any time you create awareness and get the word out there that animal abuse is part of the culture and find a way to fix it, that's good," Utley said.

The Giants ran drills using the Wildcat formation on Friday, but it was purely a coincidence, coach Tom Coughlin said. By the time the Giants visit the Eagles on Nov. 1, they should have a better idea of how Vick will fit into the Eagles' offense.

And while Umenyiora respects the second chance the Eagles are giving Vick, he is confident that the Giants will have an answer to whatever the new-look Eagles offense does.

"It remains to be seen if he's still the same football player," Umenyiora said. "Whatever happens, I think we'll be more than ready to take care of them."


Contact staff writer Matt Gelb

at 215-854-2928 or mgelb@phillynews.com.

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