- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 24, 2009

PHILADELPHIA | The self-proclaimed original Wildcat is now out of the bag.

Having served his two-game suspension, Michael Vick can’t wait to begin reshaping his career Sunday when the Eagles host the Chiefs.

“This is a dream come true of a season for me,” the former Virginia Tech star said Wednesday. “In my eyes, I’ve already won the Super Bowl.”

The 29-year-old Vick hasn’t played in a regular-season game since Dec. 31, 2006, when his former team, the Atlanta Falcons, lost to the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field to conclude a disappointing 7-9 campaign. That offseason, the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback was indicted on federal charges for his role in a dogfighting ring. After pleading guilty and serving 18 months in federal prison, Vick was signed by the Eagles to a one-year, $1.6 million contract.

His return comes at an opportune time for the Eagles (1-1), who lost veteran quarterback Donovan McNabb to a fractured rib in Week 1 and were blown out 48-22 by New Orleans last week with backup Kevin Kolb at the helm.

Coach Andy Reid didn’t rule out, however, the possibility McNabb could return against Kansas City.

“He is able to throw, though not with great velocity yet,” Reid said. “If he can function and keep himself out of danger, then he can play. If not, then he can’t. We’ll see. … I have trust in Kevin.”

Given that the Eagles don’t play in Week 4, it’s possible Reid will rest McNabb for two more weeks before bringing the veteran back Oct. 11 against Tampa Bay. Though the pecking order of the three quarterbacks behind McNabb - Vick, Kolb and Jeff Garcia - isn’t set for Sunday’s game, Reid is expected to give Kolb his second career start while designating Vick as the backup and Garcia as his emergency quarterback.

Reid wouldn’t say whether or how much Vick will play. But the Eagles ran 12 plays out of the Wildcat formation last week, so it’s difficult to imagine the coach ignoring a weapon like Vick.

“I was the Wildcat originator, so it’s not foreign territory to me,” said Vick, who in 2006 became the first quarterback in NFL history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a single season (1,039). “It’s almost like backyard ball, but it’s become quite [popular] in this league now. Everybody’s doing it. … It’s evolving all across the league. I see seven or eight teams running the Wildcat now. It’s productive. It’s efficient.”

Vick appeared in two of the team’s preseason games, usually as the quarterback in the Wildcat formation. But Reid and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg kept the package extremely vanilla and never played Vick in goal-line situations. His athleticism could boost the Eagles specifically in the red zone; they were one of the league’s five least efficient teams inside the 20 last season, parlaying 71 trips into just 34 touchdowns.

With Kolb starting last week, the Eagles again sputtered in the red zone, converting five trips into just one touchdown.

“It’s a bit of a surprise when I step out there because you never know what you’re going to get. You never know what’s going to happen,” Vick said. “The guys here, Andy and Marty, are very creative. They do a good job of coming up with concepts for the package that I’m in, so it might not be what you saw a couple of weeks ago.

“It’s very exciting to have the opportunity to just go out there and play football regardless of my role. … Just to suit up, to be able to go out and play in a game when it counts. I’ve been watching football for the last two years, so I’m just ecstatic to be back.”

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