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A New Chapter In The Mike Vick Redemption Story

Michael VickPro athletes are generally stereotyped as being out of touch with their fans and the public. I try to give professional athletes the benefit of the doubt in most situations. Unfortunately the Philadelphia Eagles have played right into these stereotypes. The Michael Vick redemption project took a whole new turn this week when the team honored Michael Vick with the Ed Block Courage Award.

I have written quite a bit this season about my feelings as a Philadelphia Eagles fan towards the Vick situation. Quite frankly, as great as this season has been for the birds the Vick signing has made me completely apathetic towards the team. It isn’t even so much the signing anymore as it is their continued effort to shove his redemption story down our throats like he just came back after beating cancer or being hit by a drunk driver. As disgusted as I was with the whole charade in Atlanta, this news just makes me completely sick.

Let me first say this before people start whining about second chances, etc. I understand he paid his debt to society. I do believe he should be able to move on with his life and his career once he paid his debt. However, the constant effort by the Philadelphia Eagles to single him out and criticize their fans that may not be on board with the situation has gotten way out of hand. The franchise has turned him into some kind of hero, going out of their way to prove a point to his critics and the dog lovers sickened seeing him on the field. It has just gotten way out of hand and this is something that the Eagles should be truly ashamed of.

The circus in Atlanta was a bit too much as it was. Having Vick lead the team out onto the field, and putting him in red zone situations so he would score and somehow redeem himself was just preposterous to me. The bubble separating this team from the NFL fan base expanded before the game when players raved about the hero’s welcome that Michael Vick would receive from Atlanta Falcons fans. After being wildly booed by the Falcons fan base, his Eagles teammates apparently didn’t hear those thousands of boos after they raved about the reception he received by Atlanta. I must have been watching a different game.

The funny thing is, if Michael Vick is the most courageous person on this team than the Eagles are in worst shape than I ever imagined. The award celebrates players who have improved the lives of abused children and exemplifies the principals of sportsmanship and courage. Michael Vick is a backup quarterback who has probably played about two dozen snaps this season. So you mean to tell me out of every Eagles that played this season, this is the most courageous and sportsmanlike guy on the team? Didn’t he just talk about wanting to play elsewhere next year and didn’t like being a Wild Cat quarterback? Obviously this award is about none of the above and about sending a message to his critics and the anti-Vick fans. I guess there was nothing courageous about Jeremiah Trotter coming back, taking a leadership role, and accepting a backup spot. How about Brian Westbrook trying to play a couple of weeks after receiving a concussion? What about Jamaal Jackson and what he is doing for his dead sister’s children?

If you don’t think this is about the Mike Vick redemption story, just take a look at the other recipients around the NFL.

– The San Francisco 49ers honored Shawntae Spencer. Spencer tore his ACL last season and has worked his way back to be the team’s starting CB this season.
– The Cincinnati Bengals honored Bobbie Williams. Bobbie is a locker room leader and has never missed a game due to a football-related injury. As the Bengals starting right guard, Williams has played a critical role in the Bengals successful running attack this season.
– Mike Furrey won the award from the Cleveland Browns. Furrey is ranked second in receptions this season with the Browns and missed the last six games of the 2008-09 season with an injury while with the Detroit Lions.
– The Washington Redskins honored defensive lineman Phillip Daniels with the award this season. Daniels tore his ACL last year in training camp and missed the season. Coming back this season, Daniels continues to start even after suffering torn right biceps. In 11 starts, Daniels has 28 tackles, including 17 unassisted and has been integral in stopping the run.

You get the point. Call me crazy, but does anything Michael Vick has done this season compare with any of these guys?

On the field, he has done more damage this season to the team than he has helped them. Yes, the birds finally started getting some production out of him the last few weeks. However, we are talking about two out of fifteen weeks of the season. Anyone with an NFL mind knew that it would take him a while to get back into football shape and get his legs back. Yet the birds gave up a roster spot to a guy that probably wouldn’t be ready until the end of the season. I could see a team with a two-three year Vick plan giving him this same opportunity, but this has been widely speculated to be a one-year situation for Vick. Up until just a few weeks ago, Vick’s presence on the field was more of a disruption to the Eagles than any other team. Over the course of a full season he has been a complete and utter bust. If this was any other player he would have been cut weeks ago or never signed in the place by the Philadelphia Eagles.

As of today, the Philadelphia Eagles are the hottest NFC team entering the NFL playoffs. That could change with one loss, but today they have rolled off 5-0 and are in the hunt for the second NFC seed. As a twenty-year Eagles fan, you would expect me to ecstatic and pumping out my chest. Honestly, I really don’t care. This team has done so much to alienate me and others like me this season that I would rather see the New Orleans Saints embarrass the birds in the playoffs than watch this arrogant franchise in the Super Bowl. Between letting Brian Dawkins walk, Andy Reid and Joe Banner’s continued arrogance, and the Vick redemption story, I refuse to have my day ruined anymore because the Eagles lost on Sunday.

Thanks to USAtoday.com for the tip!

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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