Even Michael Vick, the former No. 1 overall pick in the draft, the three-time Pro Bowler who has been under the spotlight ever since he burst onto the scene as an otherworldly athlete as a freshman quarterback at Virginia Tech, could not believe the masses of media swarming his locker at the NovaCare Complex on Wednesday.
"This is amazing," Vick said after wading his way through the five-rows deep throng.
But you can understand the attention. Philadelphia is the epicenter of the NFL universe this week as the Eagles prepare to welcome in the division-rival Washington Redskins and their quarterback Donovan McNabb - considered by most to be the greatest quarterback in Eagles history.
McNabb, of course, was very instrumental in the Eagles' decision to sign Vick last summer. The two quarterbacks had been good friends and McNabb vouched for Vick to head coach Andy Reid following Vick's release from incarceration for his dogfighting crimes. And while the two remain close - though they have not yet spoken this week - Vick said there is far more to Sunday's matchup than the two men under center.
"It's not me against Donovan. It's not me against the Redskins. It's Philadelphia against the Redskins," Vick said. "You can't get caught up in everything that's going on. We have no personal vendetta against each other. It's a divisional game and it's going to be rough and it's going to be tough and I'm sure they're feeling the same way.
"It's a big game because it's a divisional game and we have to go out and get a win. It would be win number three for us and we know Washington is always going to be a tough opponent for us."
While it's still very early, the Eagles currently hold a one-game lead over the other three teams in the division and the importance of this Sunday's game is magnified in the division because it's the only NFC East game the Eagles play in the first half of the season. The Eagles are in first place largely because of Vick's play. The quarterback grabbed hold of the starting job by earning a quarterback rating over 100 in three consecutive games for the first time in his career, accounting for seven touchdowns and no turnovers.
As for what a difference a year makes, Vick said there's no way anyone could have foreseen the sequence of events that led all parties to this point.
"We all never imagined it would come to this," Vick said. "The lord works in mysterious ways. We all know that this is a business and that at any given moment you can be traded or released. It just depends on how things are going."
The hot button topic as the sports world runs this week's top story through the ringer is the expected reaction for McNabb, who, of course, led the Eagles to five NFC Championships in 11 years.
"I hope it's a positive reaction," Vick said, "maybe a standing ovation. "I think that would be great. Donovan sacrificed a lot. He took them to the playoffs multiple times and a Super Bowl."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 1:00 p.m., September 29