Vick basking in return to Pro Bowl

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KAPOLEI, HAWAII (AP) - While every Pro Bowl player endured a long trip to get to Hawaii, the journey for Michael Vick in many ways was the longest.

Less than two years after being released from federal prison, the Philadelphia Eagles‘ quarterback is making his fourth Pro Bowl appearance _ and first since serving 18 months for his role in a dogfighting operation.

“This one feels great due to the fact that I’ve been through so much and trained to getting back to this position,” he said after the NFC opened practice Wednesday. “It’s paramount for me and my family and I’m just thankful.”

After starting the year as a backup to Kevin Kolb, the 30-year-old Vick is coming off the best season of his career, leading the Eagles to an NFC East title.

“I’m enjoying the guys and I’m enjoying being out here playing football,” he said. “This is what you work for. You work hard to get in this position. I’m ecstatic to be here.”

Vick was selected to start Sunday after leading the NFC with more than 1.5 million votes, far ahead of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, the NFC’s second-leading vote-getter at 948,410.

“I’m going to try to put on a great show for the fans,” Vick said.

In the past, Vick’s running is largely what got him into the Pro Bowl. He takes satisfaction that his passing was better than it has ever been this season.

“I feel like this one, I had to work hard to get it,” he said. “It came in a different fashion. I displayed different talents this year and showed really what I could do in the passing game along with doing everything else. Everything just came together and it worked out for me.”

Vick set career highs in yards passing (3,018), touchdown passes (21), touchdowns rushing (nine), completion percentage (62.6) and passer rating (100.2). The Eagles (10-6) and eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by Green Bay. Philadelphia was 8-3 in games he started and finished.

His last throw, however, still stings. He threw an interception in the end zone with 33 seconds left to seal Philadelphia’s 21-16 loss to the Packers.

While Hawaii is nice, Vick’s goal is to get to the Super Bowl. The question is, whether he’ll be with the Eagles or another team.

Vick doesn’t have a contract for next season, and he could become a free agent if the NFL labor situation allows. The Eagles want him back and Vick wants to stay in Philadelphia, which gave him a shot when it seemed no one else would.

“Hopefully, I’ll be with the Eagles next year. We’ll see what happens,” said Vick, who added that he expects “everything to go according to plan.”

“We’ll see what happens over the next couple months. I just got to be patient and take it day by day,” he said.

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