Why? Two reasons. The first is pretty basic. As recently as Tuesday, people within the organization scoffed at the notion of signing Vick. Laughed about it even being a possibility.
The second reason? The Eagles don’t need Michael Vick. At all.
Michael Vick is an Eagle because the Eagles believe this is the right thing to do.
This is a charity move orchestrated by Eagles coach Andy Reid. It’s a softhearted, Father Flanagan, “there are no bad boys” decision.
This isn’t going to make the 2009 Philadelphia Eagles appreciably better. It might make them worse. This is a team that had the lead in the NFC Championship last year with three minutes remaining. This is a team that has an enviable situation at quarterback with a veteran Pro Bowler in Donovan McNabb, a decent veteran in A.J. Feeley and a young, developing QB in Kevin Kolb, whom the Eagles thought enough of to spend a second-round pick on.
We all missed the boat. We all presumed that the team hiring Vick would have A) a quarterback situation in some disarray, B) a renegade owner desperate to win and C) a fan base that would either be unmoved by V ick’s presence because the team stunk or they were desperate.
Now, you and I can go round and round on whether Vick deserves such benevolence so quickly. Ultimately, neither of us will be proven right or wrong, no matter which side we take.
But you cannot argue the good intentions of Reid and the Philly brass he swayed to pursue Vick: owner Jeffrey Lurie, president Joe Banner and GM Tom Heckert. They are extending themselves to give Vick a shot at redemption.
It is a humane thing to do for a person like Vick, whose inhuman actions currently define him.
Reid was very up front about the motivating factors for his pushing the team to sign Vick. His sons, Garrett and Britt, were both jailed in November 2007 for drug-related offenses and Reid is full of empathy for Vick.
Later, Reid said, “I’ve followed Michael Vick’s situation very closely with the things my boys have been through. I’ve lived that and I’ve seen change on my family’s side.”
The football, here, is an afterthought. Reid didn’t even work Vick out to see what kind of shape he’s in.
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