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.