- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick is out for the third game in a row Sunday as he continues his recovery from a concussion. Our man Ed Werder reported earlier Friday that Vick wants to return and that he's concerned the Eagles are "playing politics" with his concussion recovery so they can spend the remainder of their lost season evaluating rookie Nick Foles. Of course, Vick wants to play so he can look good for other teams that may want to sign him assuming the Eagles let him go after the season.
Well, the Eagles did a bunch of damage control after Werder's report hit the airwaves, and Vick himself issued this statement through the team:
"I want to thank my fans for the thousands of well wishes. I also appreciate the support of the entire Eagles organization. I feel strong and healthy. As a professional athlete, I want to play in every game but the NFL has a specific protocol to protect players. My focus is to complete this process successfully, so I can rejoin my team on the field."
Which doesn't tell you much except that Vick wants to play and the rules won't let him. The fact is, this is and will remain a murky gray area. Eagles coach Andy Reid continues to insist that Vick will return to the starting quarterback role once he's healthy, but there's no reason to assume Reid will ever have to make good on that pledge. Vick may need the remainder of the season to recover from his concussion, and of course it's possible the Eagles could drag his recover out on technicalities, since they're the ones testing his recovery.
I completely understand why Vick or people close to him might be suspicious, especially if he feels good and wants to play. But the way the concussion protocol is being administered and monitored by the league right now, I find it hard to believe a team would actually be playing fast and loose with these particular rules. So while I don't doubt Werder's report that Vick has concerns about the way the team is handling things, I'd be surprised to find out those concerns were justified. If the Eagles want to play Foles the rest of the year, they don't need to use Vick's concussions as an excuse to do so. It's not as though Vick was on his way to the Pro Bowl when he got hurt.