The real McNabb-Vick issue, though, isn't how Vick got here, it's what happens down the road.
You don't need a talent for the perverse to imagine how Vick's presence as a backup could backfire on McNabb. No, not so much the blah-blah you've been hearing all over that fans will be chanting Vick's name, should McNabb hit a 3-week rough patch, as happened last season. The upshot of McNabb's contract sweetening in June seemed to be a pledge from management that he would be allowed to work through any difficulties this time around.
But what happens if McNabb suffers, say, a 4-to-6 week injury in November, Vick takes the controls, and the team plays way better? Or, less far-fetched, what happens next offseason, if the Eagles still haven't won the Super Bowl with McNabb, Vick is completely recovered from his long absence, and all Marty Mornhinweg's drilling on mechanics actually shows signs of harnessing Vick's amazing potential?
McNabb said yesterday he is willing to take that risk, that he didn't see it as being so different from having Kevin Kolb, or previously, Jeff Garcia looking over his shoulder. (But, uh, Donovan, the Garcia thing, him leading the team to the 2006 playoffs after you tore your ACL, fans preferring Garcia - you and your family didn't much like that, remember? "Bittersweet" ring a bell?)
"I've been through many situations throughout my career where if I got injured or someone wasn't liking the way I was playing, they cheered for the backup . . . It happened with Garcia, it happened with Kolb, it happened with [A.J.] Feeley. So I'm used to that," McNabb said.
"That's not the reason why this is going about right now. And I think it's a situation where I can kind of be a mentor for him and give him an opportunity to get his feet up under him and get his life together."
McNabb said he knows there are limits to his mentorship - "I don't want to make it like I'm his father or his blanket or anything of that nature," he said - but he seems to feel a deep connection, even though McNabb is a dog owner who couldn't fathom doing what Vick did, even though McNabb's suburban Chicago upbringing wasn't much like Vick's early life in Virginia.
"I believe in second chances. I believe everybody deserves a second chance, and I have strong faith in God that he forgives our sins and gives an opportunity to move on in a positive light to continue to inspire others," McNabb said. "And, in this situation, I just want to try to inspire others to understand that, yes, it was a bad thing, it was a malicious act, and one that you don't want to see happen to anyone, including animals. But somewhere in your heart you have forgiveness.
"And, if he understands the negative aspects of what happened and he understands the penalty and consequences of what happened and serving time, then you deserve an opportunity to turn your life around and show people there can be change. And he's on a path to do that right now, he's been going through the right channels and talking with the right people, and I think it's important for us to try to surround him with some positive input or positive people to lead him in the right direction."
McNabb, who reiterated on his blog Sunday night how he has been a friend of Vick since hosting Vick on his visit to Syracuse, was asked what he thought when he first heard the ugly reports about dogfighting that led to Vick spending 18 months in federal prison.
McNabb said that because of his background, "I didn't know much about dogfighting. So, before I was able to make any assumptions or [reach] any conclusions, I wanted to learn more about dogfighting. And, I have relatives in the Mississippi area . . . [I] asked them questions about it and learned about it. I mean, some people grew up with that, some people can't pull themselves away from that, some people can. In that situation, he didn't, and he served his time and paid the consequence. I think for me, loving dogs and having dogs all my life, I would never put my dogs in that situation, because it's a 50-50 chance that [the dog] lives or dies, and you don't want to see that happen."
It still seems odd to some observers that McNabb has said he would be willing to give up a small number of snaps to Vick every game, given that those snaps presumably would come down near the goal line, and would have to affect McNabb's key stats.
"I wouldn't have a problem with it, if it's helping us win," McNabb said. "As you can see [using a different QB in the Wildcat] helped Miami last year . . . If that was the direction we were going in, I wouldn't have a problem with it at all."
McNabb held to his original scenario articulated last week, that would have him as one of Vick's Wildcat receivers.
"I might be a tight end, I might be a running back. You never know where I'll be," he said. "I can get off press coverage."
For more Eagles coverage and opinion, read the Daily News' Eagles blog, Eagletarian, at www.eagletarian.com.