Source: Vick ruling likely by Saturday

Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg (left) works with Michael Vick during practice.
Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg (left) works with Michael Vick during practice.
Posted: September 03, 2009

A source close to the situation last night said a ruling on Michael Vick's reinstatement seems likely before Saturday's 6 p.m. roster cutdown to the regular-season limit of 53.

The source was commenting on an ESPN.com report yesterday that said the Eagles expect to know Vick's status by then. Eagles spokesman Derek Boyko said last night that the team does not know when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will rule.

Goodell has said he would rule before Week 6 on Vick, who served 18 months in federal prison for his role in a dogfighting ring. Vick has not played in a regular-season game since the end of the 2006 season. He is scheduled to play extensively in the second half tonight, when the Birds end their preseason at Giants Stadium against the Jets.

Goodell could decide not to suspend Vick at all in the regular season, or for any number of games. One report last night, on Fanhouse.com, said Vick would be eligible for the season opener, Sept. 13 at Carolina. Many observers have expected a 2-week suspension, which would make Vick eligible Week 3 at home against the Chiefs. ESPN.com repeated that scenario last night, citing team and league sources for it.

Goodell's extensive involvement in Vick's return to the league would seem to make a lengthy regular-season suspension unlikely - what would be the point, after the commissioner virtually shepherded his return?

Goodell said this week he has talked to Vick regularly. "A lot of those issues I'm focusing on are off the field," Goodell said. "How is he dealing with the transition? . . . Does he have the right people around him helping him make decisions?"

The Eagles want to know Vick's status by Saturday because it affects their roster decisions. If Vick is suspended, they must decide whether to go into the season with only 52 eligible players, or place Vick on the exempt list. Then they could carry 53 other players, but Vick would not be able to practice. The length of the suspension might also be important to this decision - 1 or 2 weeks, the team might be tempted to try to get by with two eligible quarterbacks. Anything more than that, almost certainly not.

Several teams are said to have expressed interest in backup quarterback A.J. Feeley, 32, widely assumed to be the odd man out behind Donovan McNabb, Vick and Kevin Kolb. Obviously, the sooner the Eagles know what the Vick situation will be, the sooner they can decide what to do with Feeley.

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