Quarterback Michael Vick's storybook season with the Eagles came to a close on Sunday night when his pass intended for wide receiver Riley Cooper in the end zone was intercepted by Green Bay cornerback Tramon Williams with just 33 seconds remaining.
Vick will don an Eagles helmet on January 30 when he represents the team as the starting quarterback for the NFC in the Pro Bowl. Will that be the final time we ever see Vick in an Eagles uniform? Vick's contract expires in March and he will become a free agent. If Vick has his druthers, he will be an Eagle in 2011.
"We're going to have to wait and see, but I really do hope I am," Vick said. "I enjoyed this season. I enjoyed the group of guys that I played with. I enjoyed the progress and the success that we all made as a young team. I think the sky's the limit."
After starting the season as the backup, Vick replaced the injured Kevin Kolb in the season opener against the Green Bay Packers and took the reins of the starting job. He finished the year with his first 3,000-yard passing season (3,018), a career-high 62.6 completion percentage, a career-high 21 touchdown passes, a career-best 100.2 passer rating and - believe it or not - a career-high nine rushing touchdowns. As a team, the Eagles won their first division title since 2006.
The 30-year-old Vick praised head coach Andy Reid and the entire Eagles organization for turning him into a superstar again despite losing two years to incarceration.
"I just thank God for putting me with the right group of people, landing with a flagship organization, a great group of coaches. They're part of the reason I'm headed to Hawaii, a co-MVP, whatever you want to call it. They give me all of the credit, but I give them the credit," Vick said. "I know how hard I have to work. I know what I can accomplish. I know things I didn't do so well this year that I'm going to practice this entire offseason. I'm very thankful for the opportunity. I'm very thankful to be here."
Whether Vick is given the franchise tag, if it exists in a new CBA, or signed to a long-term contract this offseason, it doesn't matter to him. Vick understands how fortunate he is to have a second chance to play this game.
"It really doesn't matter as long as I can play football next year. Regardless, it's all a blessing to me," Vick said. "I'm just thankful I had the opportunity to come out and help this football team win games. Obviously, we wish we could have went further and I wish I could have taken some things back. That's hindsight now. We've got to move on. I've got to figure out ways I can get better."
But Vick may have to continue to improve without offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, whose name has been mentioned in reports for head coaching vacancies in the NFL. Vick believes that Mornhinweg deserves the opportunity to be a head coach again.
"Look at what he's done. Look at what he's accomplished over the last couple of years, what he's done with me and just him being great," Vick said. "He's a great coach and he knows how the deal with players and he knows how to win. I think those are attributes that would put him in a head coaching position and this year he should be in the driver's seat."
The final chapter of the 2010 season wasn't what Vick or Eagles fans dreamed of. But there could be an even better story crafted in 2011. And Vick welcomes the prospect of leading the Eagles if afforded the opportunity.
"That's the responsibility that you take on when you get up under the center," Vick said. "I'm built to play the position and deal with everything that comes along with it. I never shy away from it. ... I always accept the challenge."
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 12:35 p.m., January 10