Sources: Michael Vick cleared to play

Updated: September 23, 2011, 5:18 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

PHILADELPHIA -- After being evaluated by an independent neurologist and the Eagles' training staff, quarterback Michael Vick has been cleared for all football activities, including Sunday's game, sources told ESPN's Sal Paolantonio.

Barring any unforseen circumstances Friday and Saturday, Vick will start against the Giants, sources told Paolantonio.

"I feel good,'' Vick said Friday. "I feel great and ready to play, nothing feels different. So I feel like I've worked myself back into good condition and playing shape and I'm ready to go."

Vick returned to practice Thursday, just four days after he suffered a concussion against the Falcons in Atlanta.

During the portion of Thursday's practice open to the media, Vick was seen throwing passes to assistant coaches, jogging around with teammates and participating in all the drills that the other quarterbacks, Mike Kafka and Vince Young, participated in. Reporters were allowed to stay for practice and saw Vick participate with first-team offense.

The Eagles announced after practice that Vick was a full participant with no restrictions.

"He looked good, he looked fine," said wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, who had a career-high 171 receiving yards against the Falcons. "In control of the huddle, in control of what was going on, in control of the offense.

"He's in good shape."

Vick's participation showed that he's been cleared by the NFL-appointed independent neurologist, required under the league's 2009 concussion policy for a player to "return to football activities."

According to that policy, a player "should not be considered for return-to-football activities until he is fully asymptomatic, both at rest and after exertion, has a normal neurological examination, normal neuropsychological testing, and has been cleared to return by both his team physician(s) and the independent neurological consultant."

With a huge media contingent watching, Vick arrived at practice in full pads and a helmet. He watched practice from the sideline on Wednesday afternoon, after participating in a morning walkthrough.

"He's our leader, so obviously it'll help us and give us the best chance to win," Maclin said. "Obviously, we want him out there."

In order to help protect against future concussions, Vick is planning to refit his helmet with Kevlar padding, the CEO of Unequaled Technologies told Paolantonio on Wednesday.

Rob Vito told ESPN that he will meet with Vick in Philadelphia on Friday to refit his helmet to help Vick deal with the post-concussive blows to the head in Sunday's home opener against the New York Giants.

"The 100-year-old foam everybody is using in helmets is antiquated," Vito said. "Concussions are the injury of our age and really they should not be happening anymore."

Vick became a spokesman for Unequaled Technologies in 2010, when the company designed a Kevlar vest for him after he suffered a rib injury against the Washington Redskins in Week 4.

The Eagles (1-1) face the Giants (1-1) Sunday in their home opener at Lincoln Financial Field. Philadelphia has won the last six straight in this classic NFC East rivalry.

Vick threw for a pair of touchdowns in the 35-31 loss to Atlanta, but couldn't continue after getting spun by a Falcons rusher into one of his teammates, right tackle Todd Herremans. Vick was seen on national television spitting up blood on the sideline. The Eagles said later that was caused by him biting his tongue.

Vick was replaced by Kafka, as Young, who was signed to be the backup, missed the first two games with a hamstring injury.

"Not to say we don't have confidence in the other guys, we're very confident," running back LeSean McCoy said. "But Mike Vick is Mike Vick. We're happy he's back."

Giants coach Tom Coughlin, in a conference call with the media earlier this week, said he expected Vick to play, and that New York was not putting together a different gameplan without Vick in it.

Vick has only played a full 16-game regular season once in his career. He missed three games with a rib injury last year.

"He's one of the great leaders on this team," offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said. "He has old-school mentality."

Maclin said Vick's desire to get back on the field as quickly as possible after a fairly serious injury shows what kind of leader he is.

"That's what you want out of your quarterback," Maclin said. "You want him to want to be out there, you want him to put everything on his shoulders, and he wants to be the guy to take us where we want to go.

"We're going to rally behind him, and we definitely want him out there."

Information from ESPN national correspondent Sal Paolantonio and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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