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Dan Levy
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Dan Levy

The host of On the DL with new episodes every weekday.

Deserving enough


Let me first say that I was wrong about how this season for the Eagles would go. I swore to anyone who would listen that the Eagles were going to have a quarterback controversy by the end of the year. I don't know if you can chalk it up to some master plan Andy Reid had with Michael Vick, or the fact that he had the exact opposite - no plan at all - but Donovan McNabb is firmly planted in the captain's chair of another playoff team, and potential Super Bowl contender. Vick is nothing more than a specialty back. He's a non-factor.

Sure there was that blowout in Atlanta where Vick rushed for a touchdown then stayed in the game long enough to throw another, far less important in terms of the score but exceedingly more important in terms of his future in the league. But that was it. Vick has simply not been a factor this year, and that makes everyone wonder what Reid was thinking in bringing the player in and turning the entire city of Philadelphia upside down.

To borrow a phrase from a former Eagle: "For who? For what?" Why did Reid do this? Some speculate that the embattled coach used Vick as a reclamation project of a personal nature -- Reid used the rehabilitation of Vick as a way to right the wrong of the rehabilitation of his own sons. There has been talk that the decision to sign Vick had nothing to do with football at all.

If you think about Vick's season that way - on a human level - there's really no other option for the Ed Block Courage Award. On some basic fundamental level, Vick has indeed displayed the courage of showing up every day and putting the red quarterback pinny over his invisible, yet constantly distinguishable, orange jumpsuit. He'll always be a criminal, but he's taken his return to football with a newfound sense of humility. He really does seem to appreciate the fact that he's back in the NFL.

However... and this is a big however... if I were Vick's personal handlers, or even perhaps the PR executives with the Eagles that had the player land on their heads this season, I would strongly suggest that Vick not make comments like this anymore:

"I've overcome a lot, more than probably one single individual can handle or bear," Vick said. "You ask certain people to walk through my shoes, they probably couldn't do. Probably 95 percent of the people in this world because nobody had to endure what I've been through, situations I've been put in, situations I put myself in and decisions I have made, whether they have been good or bad.

"There's always consequences behind certain things and repercussions behind them, too. And then you have to wake up every day and face the world, whether they perceive you in the right perspective, it's a totally different outlook on you. You have to be strong, believe in yourself, be optimistic. That's what I've been able to do. That's what I display."

Give Vick credit that the sixth thing he mentioned was "situations I put myself in" but he needs to cut out the, "look how hard my life is" stuff. This is what turns people off. We don't care how hard your life is, Michael. Sure 95 percent of the people in the world wouldn't be able to handle what you handle, but that's probably close to the same percentage of people who wouldn't, you know, electrocute and drown dogs for sport. So you might want to back off on how much you've endured.

That said, the man has endured a lot - the point of the above is to say we don't need to hear it from him, not that he's wrong. It is important to remember that the players are the ones who vote for this award. Of course the players are going to vote for Vick, and PETA coming out and saying Vick shouldn't have been eligible for the award is just, well, stupid.

Vick is a member of the team. He didn't win the Animal Lover of the year award... it's an award about courage. For PETA to say this "does not mark a joyous moment in NFL history" just further validates the award in the first place. It's a team award that nobody outside of the locker room even cares about. It's a footnote on one of the last pages in the media guide. If the award were given Sheldon Brown for playing through contract squabbles or Brian Westbrook for (stupidly) coming back from multiple concussions to try and play this week, the news would be a press release and a bullet in the beat writers' notebook. This award has no moment in NFL history...joyous or otherwise.

Vick may not have helped the team on the field, but the team has helped him rehabilitate his career off it. I'm not sure if I'd call that courage, but Vick's teammates certainly do. There really is no other choice.

By Dan Levy  |  December 25, 2009; 8:55 AM ET  | Category:  Michael Vick , Philadelphia Eagles Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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