Eagles say Vick release not considered
PHILADELPHIA -- The Eagles are not considering releasing quarterback Michael Vick, who is in the spotlight again as police continue their investigation into a shooting that followed his birthday celebration in Virginia Beach last week, a high-ranking team source told ESPN Saturday.
The team, according to the source, will not take any action until Virginia Beach police and the NFL conclude their investigations.
The Eagles issued a statement Saturday afternoon saying "any report or speculation that suggests the Eagles are considering releasing Vick are not true. We will continue to gather information and monitor the situation and we will not have any further comment until that process is complete."
Earlier Saturday, The Associated Press had reported that a person familiar with the team's thinking said the Eagles were strongly considering releasing Vick.
The person told the AP that the team might cut Vick no matter what police conclude during their investigation. The person spoke to the AP early Saturday on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.
Two team sources told ESPN that the AP report was not true.
The latest controversy touching Vick involves Quanis Phillips, a co-defendant in Vick's dogfighting case with whom Vick is barred from associating. Phillips was shot outside a restaurant where Vick had been celebrating his birthday in the early morning hours of June 25.
Vick's lawyer, Larry Woodward, said Vick had left the restaurant long before the shooting. The quarterback, in a statement released Thursday, said he had nothing to do with the shooting. He also said he reported the incident to the Eagles and to the NFL, something confirmed in the Eagles' statement Saturday.
Vick is prohibited from associating with Phillips as a condition of his release on probation, which stemmed from a dogfighting conviction and resulting 18-month federal prison sentence.
Commissioner Roger Goodell told the former Atlanta Falcons star after reinstating him last season that his margin for error was "extremely limited."
Vick is entering his second season with the Eagles and is due to earn $5.2 million -- $2 million of which is guaranteed.
In addition, the team paid a $1.5 million bonus to Vick earlier this week, according to ESPN NFL Insider Chris Mortensen.
The Eagles were heavily criticized by animal rights activists and fans for signing Vick last summer, less than a month after he finished serving 18 months in federal prison for his role in a dogfighting operation.
Team owner Jeffrey Lurie called Vick's actions "horrific" and "despicable." He said he did serious "soul-searching" before agreeing to sign him.
Vick was a model citizen off the field and in the locker room during his first season with the Eagles. He was popular among his teammates, who voted him winner of the Ed Block Courage Award.
But this latest incident could end up costing Vick his job, even if he's exonerated of any wrongdoing.
Vick was expected to play a major role in Philadelphia's offense running the wildcat formation. Instead, he was used sparingly.
Vick completed 6 of 13 passes for 86 yards and one touchdown and ran for 95 yards and two scores. He tossed a 76-yard TD pass in a 34-14 loss to Dallas in the playoffs.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.