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Vick In Spotlight For 2012 Finale

Posted Dec 25, 2012

He has been in the background for weeks now, gracefully, recovering from a concussion and preparing for another opportunity to play. Michael Vick has his chance on Sunday, and he is determined to make the most of it ...

The broken hand suffered by Nick Foles on Sunday against Washington has opened the door for Michael Vick to start the season's curtain closer at the Giants. It is not an audition, of course, for anyone who has watched Vick the last couple of years knows that he is a much more complete quarterback than the player who signed with the Eagles in 2009.

Sunday represents a chance for Vick to get back on the field for the first time since November 11 and win a football game for a team that helped rejuvenate his NFL career. What happens in the future -- despite all of the "This is for certain" proclamations out there -- is as unknown as what has transpired since Vick joined the Eagles in August of 2009.

What matters for Vick is that he prepares the right way this week and quarterbacks a win to close 2012. You learn in this business to focus on the here and now, and to let the future take care of itself.

Vick returns to the NovaCare Complex on Wednesday as the starting quarterback for the first time since early November. It's been a long recovery from the concussion he suffered against Dallas, and now Vick is on the verge of returning to the lineup. Good for him, for Vick has been nothing but a class act and a complete professional from the moment he signed here.

So, what can we expect from Vick? I'm sure he's going to have all of the emotion and anticipation that he had when the season began in Cleveland in September. It seems so long ago, doesn't it? Vick overcame 4 interceptions that day and led the Eagles down the field in the closing minutes and finished off a drive with a touchdown drive to tight end Clay Harbor.

That was the first of three fourth-quarter comebacks engineered by Vick as the Eagles, ugly or not, got off to a 3-1 start and led the NFC East after a September 30 win over the Giants. Here are the Giants again, still fighting for a playoff spot.

The Eagles, meanwhile, have won just once in their 11 games since that energy-filled night at Lincoln Financial Field when they held off the Giants and believed that anything could happen this season.

Instead, the Eagles are playing out the season in the role of spoiler. Vick suffered his concussion in a loss to Dallas and rookie Nick Foles stepped in and started six games, with one win. The Eagles are 4-11. There are plenty of questions about the future of the franchise. A season of disappointment ends on Sunday.

Vick's focus is to play his best football against the Giants at the scene of one of his greatest triumphs -- a fourth-quarter comeback from 21 points down against the Giants -- and then wait, like the rest of us, for the future to arrive.

That win over New York represented, in hindsight, a crossroads game for Vick and this franchise. As exhilarating as the victory was, it provided a blueprint for defenses to attack Vick. While there had been blitzing schemes before -- the memory of Vick ducking under Detroit pass rushers earlier in the 2010 season resonate -- New York got home so much and from so many different angles that it just seemed like everything changed that day. Vick escaped the pressure and led the Eagles to the win and some would say it was the most recent great moment for this football team.

After that, the Vikings came to town and Antoine Winfield blitzed Vick off the edge, forced a fumble and returned it for a touchdown and the blitz game gave Vick and this Eagles offense fits from that point on.

I'm sure there are some who disagree, and maybe the statistics don't bear that out as the truth. But it's a sense of the direction of the football team, and that win at the Giants was a fork in the road for the Eagles from this perspective.

Anyway, here we are. Vick is back in the saddle for Sunday. He's got a lot of work to do in a short period of time preparing for a Giants defense that he knows very well. It isn't an audition for Vick, but it is a chance to end a down season on a bright note.

How can you not root for Vick in this situation? He is a superb talent who has an uncertain future, and there is no way to ignore that idea. Is Vick an Eagle next season? Who knows? There are salary complications, health questions and much more to consider.

Instead of wondering about 2013, why not just look forward to Sunday and enjoy the moment. That's Vick's mindset. That is what is being coached to do this week. It's about the Giants, finishing with a win, and ending the season with a smile. It's something that Michael Vick deserves.

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