The League

Mark Maske
Staff Writer

Mark Maske

Writes the NFL News Feed blog

Few Protest Debut


Michael Vick made his preseason debut for the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night, with no dynamic plays on the field and supporters appearing to outnumber protesters in and around Lincoln Financial Field.

Vick, who missed the last two NFL seasons while serving his federal sentence for his role in a dogfighting operation in Virginia, played a half-dozen plays for the Eagles in their 33-32 win against the Jacksonville Jaguars, all in the first half.

He entered the game at quarterback on the Eagles' second offensive play, 11 seconds into the game, and received mostly cheers from the crowd. Vick played five of his six plays at quarterback, and lined up at wide receiver for one play without the ball being thrown to him.

Vick ran for one yard on his lone rushing attempt. On that run, he didn't look like the quarterback who once seemed just about impossible to tackle during his days with the Atlanta Falcons. But that probably was to be expected, after such a lengthy period away from football and so few practices to prepare.

He completed all four of his passes for 19 yards, flipping the ball forward twice to rookie tailback LeSean McCoy and throwing a screen pass to wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Vick did have some zip on one pass, a 13-yard completion to wideout Hank Baskett.

Donovan McNabb, after starting the game at quarterback for the Eagles, sometimes lined up at wide receiver with Vick on the field at quarterback.

This was the first game in which Vick was eligible to play after signing with the Eagles. He's also eligible to play in their preseason finale under the terms of his conditional reinstatement by the league. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is to rule by Week 6 of the season on Vick's eligibility to play in regular season games.

Vick's debut didn't give the Eagles a first-half boost. They trailed the Jaguars 17-6 at halftime and their offense was booed by the crowd at times in the first half. Vick spent the second half on the Eagles' sideline, his helmet replaced by a baseball cap.

Vick's day began at a bankruptcy hearing in Newport News, Va., in which a judge approved his plan to repay creditors, with the stipulation that Vick must retain a personal financial planner. The plan previously had been ratified by creditors who reportedly are owed a total of more than $20 million.

Vick caught a flight to Philadelphia and followed McNabb onto the field for pregame warmups shortly before 5:20 p.m. He did some stretching and threw a few warmup passes after shaking hands with others on the field, including Jaguars players and coaches.

Outside the stadium, supporters and opponents of Vick's return to the NFL gathered, but in small numbers. There was no organized protest, and only a few signs were visible denouncing Vick's dogfighting involvement.

A group of approximately 15 to 20 supporters, including representatives of local civil rights groups, were present.

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By Mark Maske  |  August 28, 2009; 12:01 AM ET  | Category:  Atlanta Falcons , Mark Maske , Michael Vick , Philadelphia Eagles , Roger Goodell , Tony Dungy Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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