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“I really enjoyed getting to know him over the last five years,” Eagles chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie said in a statement in which he thanked Vick. “He always represented our team with a tremendous amount of class.”

Vick thanked the Eagles, their fans and the city of Philadelphia in an open letter posted on The Philadelphia Inquirer’s website.

“I was honored to be their quarterback and took the privilege to heart every day,” he wrote.

The move by the Jets is reminiscent of the headline-making trade they made in 2008, when they acquired an unretired Brett Favre - but as their unquestioned starter. The Vick signing also came two years to the day that the Jets made the surprising move to trade for Tim Tebow.

Vick, a four-time Pro Bowl selection who will be 34 in June, was once considered the most dynamic player in the NFL, particularly during his first six NFL seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. His playing career was abruptly halted for two seasons in 2007 when he pleaded guilty to being part of a dog fighting ring. He served 21 months in federal prison, and two more in home confinement. Since his release in 2009, Vick has worked with the Humane Society of the United States to help stop organized animal fighting.

The move drew mixed reviews by Jets fans on Twitter and message boards, but that didn’t concern Vick.

“I appreciate all the Jets fans who appreciate me and accept me for who I am and what I’ve become, not for what I’ve done,” Vick said. “Right now, my past is irrelevant.”

Sanchez’s release came as no surprise, but completes a stunning downfall for the quarterback who once drew comparisons to Joe Namath after helping lead the Jets to consecutive AFC title games in 2009 and 2010. He struggled with consistency after that, and spent last season on injured reserve after tearing the labrum in his right shoulder in a preseason game.

Sanchez had three years remaining on his contract, but his $13.1 million salary cap number for next season - and $2 million roster bonus due Tuesday - made it unlikely the team would keep him at that amount.

Needing another veteran to push Smith, the Jets set their sights on Vick as soon as free agency began last week.

“I came to New York to play football,” Vick said. “That’s what I came to New York to do. I came to New York to play football. As long as I have a uniform on, I’m good.”


AP NFL website: and