Yesterday, the big story at Eagles training camp was NFL commissioner Roger Goodell visiting Leigh.
His visit included talking to the entire team, but more importantly he confirmed that no sanctions would be placed against Michael Vick for the shooting that occurred at his 30th birthday part. Additionally, he had a private conversation with Vick about his future in the NFL.
"We had a great conversation; we’re on the same page now," said Vick as he met the press a day after talking with Goodell. "I understand everything that I am supposed to be doing and that I’m out here to do, and it was a great meeting.”
One of thing that Vick made very clear about his exchange with the commissioner was that the league is holding him to a higher standard. This means he has to be even more cautious of every move he makes. Additionally, he must go above and beyond in every aspect of his life.
“Exactly what you said, a higher standard, in every place of my life,” Vick said. “So it’s no problem, no biggie, I’m a changed man anyway so that’s going to be easy.”
Furthermore, Vick seemed to finally understand what Eagles’ owner Jeffrey Lurie meant in his press conference when talking about the “zero tolerance” policy that was enforced last year with his backup quarterback.
“It’s not difficult living a zero tolerance life, you’ve got guys walking around doing it every day, you’ve got the other 52 guys on the team doing the same thing," Vick said. "Living a life that they are suppose to lead, enjoying themselves, and doing the right thing, and that’s what it’s all about. It’s not hard to live a zero tolerance life, you just put yourself in the right positions at all times and think through situations thoroughly.”
Of course when Vick was asked for the details of the extensive conversation he had with the commissioner yesterday, Vick simply said that Goodell reiterated his stance from their prior meeting, which occurred just about two weeks ago. However Vick did say the two men talked about implementing a plan to keep him out of trouble, why the NFL was disappointed in his decision to throw a party and that he is now back on the road to success.
“There weren’t even differences, from a general understanding from before," he said. "Just some things that I did that I felt like wasn’t part of our plan, and that’s why I was disappointed. So we just got back on the same page and back on the right track, and him letting me know what his expectations are for me.”
According to Vick, commissioner Goodell also made him a very nice and genuine gesture. Goodell offered a support system for Vick in case he needed some extra advice or for someone to just be there for him. For Vick, he is grateful for all the help and stated that he will certainly take advantage of the extra support.
“I always welcome extra support," Vick said of the additional support, which has been speculated to be former Colts head coach. "I’ll take it and I’ll use it to my advantage. Whether I need it or not, based on how I feel and what my expectations are for myself and for my family, I think it will be an extra thing I have in my back pocket, but for the most part I’m going to walk the walk.”
One topic that Vick would not touch on was the specifics of the shooting since he is trying to move on with his life.
“Everything was put out there on the table from the beginning," he said. "Any questions about football I will answer but any questions pertaining to what happened that night I won’t answer because I’m trying to move forward, and I feel like I’ve already answered those questions.”
All in all, Vick seemed to acknowledge it is not a right to play football and was sincere about having the privilege to play in the NFL. In addition, Vick knows one more mistake could be fatal to his career. This is something he does not take lightly since he claims playing football last year was the most fun he has had in a long time.
"I had the most fun in the last year than I’ve had in the last eight years I’ve been playing football," he said.
Hopefully for the Eagles and Vick, he has truly learned his lesson. He is a valuable asset to the club with his ability to run the gadget “Wildcat offense” and be a threat inside the red zone with his ability to run with his legs or pass the ball.
While running Wildcat offense and being a vital red zone threat are noteworthy neither can match his role as the backup to starting quarterback Kevin Kolb. He is the only quarterback on the roster with significant playing time. Since Kolb is only one hit away from being on the sideline, Vick’s experience as a starting QB in the NFL is extremely value. Without him on the roster, the Eagles are looking at rookie Mike Kafka running the show.