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This wasn't exactly what the Eagles expected when they gave Vick a contract that guaranteed him $40 million after he led them to the playoffs in his first full season since getting out of prison. Vick was the AP Comeback Player of the Year that season, posting the highest passing yards and quarterback rating of his career.
"When you give a player a contract, you're betting on the future, and you're using the evidence of what he's done to that point to evaluate your future projection," former Eagles president Joe Banner said at the time. "And if we didn't think Michael was somebody capable of leading this team to a Super Bowl, we never would have given him that contract."
Regrets? The Eagles surely have some.
In the 20 games Vick has played since signing the deal, he's a .500 quarterback who is maddeningly inconsistent and prone to turning the ball over. Critics argue he doesn't see the field well, can't adjust to defenses, and no longer has the legs at the age of 32 to consistently run his way out of trouble.
Vick himself said this week he needed to get his "swag" back and start playing more aggressively.
"Back to playing the way I love to play it and not worry about what's going to happen, because that's out of my control," he said.
No better way to get that swag back than by playing the Saints, who are so defensively challenged that they allow 50 yards more a game than the league's next worst defense. If Vick and the Eagles can't take advantage of this matchup, they're not going to have much in the way of confidence looking ahead.
You have to wonder, though, just what Vick has left. He got through the early part of his career on sheer talent alone, but that isn't enough anymore. His passer rating is just 78.6, his average yards per carry is the lowest of any in his career as a starter, and he seems befuddled at times directing the offense.
He's done wonders rebuilding his personal life and reputation, is working his way out of bankruptcy and has a new deal with Nike. His name is much less toxic now, to the point where it can come up in normal conversation without triggering a horrified response.
What defines a football player, though, is whether his name comes up when the talk turns to the Super Bowl.
And it's beginning to look as if that part of Vick's comeback won't be nearly as successful.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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