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Anyone up for scalping bald Eagles, Vick to play tonight

News - Sports Articles

Vick is scheduled to play his first NFL game since his release from prison tonight when the Philadelphia Eagles host the Jacksonville Jaguars in a preseason matchup.

It will be Vick's first official appearance in a game since Dec. 31, 2006, with the Atlanta Falcons. He also played that one at Lincoln Financial Field against the Eagles.

This time, there likely will be protesters outside the stadium. Inside, there probably will be plenty of boos.

Vick's much-anticipated return is the talk of the town.

Vick has dominated headlines since the Eagles signed the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback two weeks ago, giving him a one-year, $1.6 million contract with a team option for $5.2 million in 2010.

Just last month, Vick's future was uncertain. He was released from federal custody July 20 after serving 18 months of a 23-month sentence for his role in financing and participating in a major dogfighting operation.

Outside the stadium today, dog lovers are throwing a tailgate party for the 2nd Chance Dogs campaign – a pointed reference to Vick's second chance in the NFL – to increase awareness of dogfighting and encourage adoption of rescued pit bulls.

The initiative is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

"As a lot of people have pointed out, [Vick's] animals never got a second chance," SPCA chief executive Sue Cosby said. "We need to speak for them."

J. Whyatt Mondesire, president of the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that his group and the Black Clergy of Philadelphia had decided to proceed with their march. Mondesire said the groups recognize Vick committed serious crimes but they are supporting his right to a second chance.

Many NFL teams said they weren't interested in Vick, and it appeared he might have to settle for playing in the fledgling United Football League.

But the Eagles, with Donovan McNabb's blessing, gave Vick a chance, hoping he can be the final piece to help them win that elusive first Super Bowl. Exactly what Vick's role will be is the biggest question, however.

McNabb is the clear-cut starter, but the Eagles didn't bring in Vick to carry a clipboard. His skills are perfectly suited to run the wildcat offense, and it's likely he'll fill that role.

Coach Andy Reid has kept his plans secret, but said he won't be reluctant to use Vick in a wildcat formation against the Jaguars.

"I've just got to see how it works out," Reid said. "I think he's worked himself into good enough shape to where he can function in there and do OK. It's been two years since he's been in there, so I've got to see."

2009-2010 Philadelphia Eagles Schedule

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