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Hard to believe that Vick’s No. 7 jersey, which was being sold at clearance prices last December, is a hot item nowadays.

“He’s my favorite player,” said Ashley Walton, one of many fans wearing a Vick jersey at a sports bar in South Philadelphia. “I know what he did was wrong and it’s something some people will never forgive him for, but he went to jail and he did his time. People can’t judge him for one mistake forever. Everyone makes mistakes.”

Indeed, Vick has made the Eagles (6-3) an instant contender in a season in what was to be a rebuilding season. They’re 4-0 in games that he’s started and finished, and are tied with the New York Giants for first place in the NFC East.

Check out his numbers, despite missing three games with a rib injury: He has passed for 1,350 yards and 11 TDs and rushed for 341 yards and four TDs. He hasn’t thrown an interception or lost a fumble and his passer rating of 115.1 leads the NFL.

Vick’s sensational game against the Skins made his college coach, Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech, think about the 2000 Sugar Bowl. Back then, Vick put on quite a show against Florida State even though the Hokies lost 46-29.

“I remember the day after the national championship game, everybody was talking about the performance Michael Vick had last night … ,” Beamer said Tuesday. “Today seems like that same day. Everybody in the country seems to be talking about what a performance he had last night, and he did.”

In general, he said, Vick doesn’t take anything for granted.

“The time away, I think he realized a lot of things and in talking with him, he’s very humble and just glad to be back in the NFL. And then I think he’s worked hard to get his body in condition. I think he’s worked hard to get mentally right out there and know where the ball needs to go and be good in that regard. I always thought he was good. I always thought he had unbelievable talent, different talent. I think he’s determined to get it back right.

“I’m pulling for him all the way. I’m pulling for him hard.”


AP Sports Writers Joseph White and Hank Kurz Jr. contributed to this report.