Vick: 'I believe in me'

Eagles coach Chip Kelly watches rookies and selected veterans at work. Kelly said he doesn't want to "run these guys into the ground" before the full-squad sessions begin this weekend.             DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer
Eagles coach Chip Kelly watches rookies and selected veterans at work. Kelly said he doesn't want to "run these guys into the ground" before the full-squad sessions begin this weekend.             DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer
Posted: July 25, 2013

Michael Vick walked to the podium, smiled, and, just as a reporter raised his phone to snap a photo, the Eagles quarterback balked.

"No Instagram," Vick joked.

It was the only time he said anything that was less than accommodating.

This was the dutiful Vick, who only a month ago said he preferred that coach Chip Kelly name a starting quarterback by training camp.

On Tuesday, after the Eagles' first practice of camp, Vick did not say he would do almost anything short of shining Nick Foles' shoes if he were to lose the quarterback competition.

But he sure seemed to come close.

"I would continue to support this team," Vick said. "I'm here for one reason - to help this team win football games. And like I said just a second ago, by any means necessary. Whatever it takes - if I have to watch film with all of the quarterbacks or if I have to coach the quarterbacks one day, then that's what I'll do."

We're not quite there yet. Despite Vick's June plea, Kelly plans to have a drawn-out competition. It won't go until the day before the Eagles open Monday night at Washington, but the coach said he would name a starter as soon as the Eagles begin to plan for the Redskins.

So it's possible that the starting quarterback could be anointed before the final preseason game on Aug. 29. Most NFL teams typically rest their starters in the final tune-up and begin preparations for the regular season the week before. Kelly has revealed little about his plans, though.

Vick seemed to not appreciate his new coach's methods when he admitted last month at the end of minicamp that splitting first-team repetitions with Foles was difficult. That's when he told a CSNPhilly.com reporter that he wanted Kelly to name a starter.

"I talked to Michael a couple of times over the summer. He's excited about getting ready to get going," Kelly said. "He came in in great shape."

Kelly said that Vick and Foles would continue to split reps when camp begins in earnest with the first full-squad practice on Friday. He did not rule out rookie Matt Barkley's moving into the mix with the first team, as he hasn't for any player at any position.

Many have weighed in on the competition, including some players. Asked by ESPN last week, a reluctant DeSean Jackson chose Vick. But Vick said that having players such as the Eagles' star wide receiver apparently in his corner gave him "no advantage."

"None of the talk is going to determine who is going to be the quarterback," Vick said.

Kelly's decision to bring back Vick was controversial. Many Eagles fans were prepared to move on. But the Eagles were able to tear up the remaining three years on Vick's contract and sign him to a one-year deal worth $7 million if he makes the roster and a total of $10 million with incentives.

Vick had the option to decline the offer and enter free agency. It's unclear whether he would have been pursued by many teams. Asked whether he thought he was the starter or understood that there would be an open competition when he signed his contract, Vick said that he "came back to play for Coach Kelly, and that was it."

"I heard a lot about him," Vick continued. "I've watched Oregon throughout the years, and I just felt like this was the best opportunity for me."

In December, though, when a reporter from Philadelphia Magazine asked Vick about Kelly, he initially thought the reporter was referring to Notre Dame's Brian Kelly.

The up-tempo, run-based offense Chip Kelly ran at Oregon would seem to cater to Vick's skill set. Vick has more rushing yards than any other quarterback who has played in the NFL. But he has been brittle in recent seasons, missing 12 games in the last three years.

Vick said he added four pounds of muscle in the offseason to combat the hits he would take in Kelly's offense.

"Can't you tell? I've been doing a lot of curls, a lot of bench presses in the offseason, just trying to put my body in the best position possible to withstand the hits," Vick said. "You know, everybody says I'm injury-prone, so I'm trying to fight that."

At 33 and in his 11th NFL training camp, Vick could be running out of time.

"I'm confident in myself. I'm very confident," Vick said. "Like I said, that's the only reason why I'm standing here. I believe in me. I know what I can do. I know I've got a lot of years left to play this game."

Click here for complete coverage of Eagles training camp.


>Inquirer.com

See daily video, blog reports throughout each day, and tweets from Inquirer beat reporters Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) and Zach Berman (@zberm) at the only place you need to be for all the Eagles training camp action: inquirer.com/eagles.

INSIDE

Chip Kelly disciplines two rookies for failing conditioning test. D2.


Contact Jeff McLane at jmclane@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @Jeff_McLane.

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