Eagles quarterback Michael Vick seems to be the forgotten man in all the team’s recent struggles.
So many fans clamored for rookie Nick Foles under center that they seem to forget the reason Foles even got a shot was because Vick took a shot to the head. On Thursday, the Birds said Vick has yet to pass the ImPACT test dictated by the league. On Friday, the team's top trainer and coach both said Vick remains out because he hasn't passed the test, not to avoid a quarterback controversy and some believe.
On Friday, the still concussed Vick released this statement through the team to address his condition:
"I want to thank my fans for the thousands of well wishes. I also appreciate the support of the entire Eagles organization. I feel strong and healthy. As a professional athlete, I want to play in every game but the NFL has a specific protocol to protect players. My focus is to complete this process successfully, so I can rejoin my team on the field."
This statement in a way sums up why the NFL has come to be so protective of its players. Vick is a football player and thinks football before health -- especially in the heat of the moment. The NFL needs to protect its product (a.k.a. players) to keep the game alive, especially with more and more lawsuits coming from former players who said they were allowed to play with injuries.
The days of Ronnie Lott getting his pinky cut off (whenever it happened) to keep playing seem to be a thing of the past.
As for Vick, his head injury continues to keep him off the field, and the Eagles losing streak and focus on the future could keep him off the field even when he’s healthy.
The theory that the Eagles could be keeping Vick from passing the concussion tests so they don't need to bench him as starting quarterback was dispelled by head trainer Rick Burkholder.
"There’s no conspiracy here. We don’t grade the ImPACT test, which he has not gotten back to baseline [on]. I send that paper from the computer off to the people in Pittsburgh. They come back and say he has not passed baseline. That’s an NFL rule. That has nothing to with anything with us," Burkholder said. "He’s got to pass that before we can ever entertain the fact of him playing. So, I don’t know where that came from. There’s no conspiracy theory. As the gatekeeper of these guys, he’s not going to play until he gets past baseline and gets through the five phases. He’s in phase four, hasn’t passed the baseline, hasn’t seen the independent [neurologist] yet."
Head coach Andy Reid has said that Vick would return as starter once he is healthy, according to CSNPhilly.com.