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Fri, Nov 29, 2013 at 1:38 AM

Eagles QB Michael Vick handles demotion with class

PHILADELPHIA — There wasn't much suspense when Eagles coach Chip Kelly on Tuesday named Nick Foles the starting quarterback for the rest of the season.
Kelly made it official only because Michael Vick was cleared to practice fully after missing five of the last six games with a hamstring injury. Kelly had said all along that he'd name a quarterback only when all of them were healthy.
"It's not disappointing at all," Vick said. "I'm still part of an organization that took care of me, that gave me all the opportunities and possibilities that I could ever imagine. So it's great to be a part of that, man. Obviously, as a competitor, you want to be out there, you want to play, you want to help your team. But you can only control what you can control. I have fun just being a part of it."
PICKS: Week 13 winners and losersn
Vick knew there was no way Kelly could pull Foles now.n
Foles is 4-1 as a starter since replacing Vick. He has thrown 16 touchdown passes without an interception. He has completed 63.6 percent of his passes, thrown for 1,554 yards and tied an NFL record by throwing seven touchdown passes in one game.
His quarterback rating of 128.0 this season is on pace to break the NFL record of 122.5 set by Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers in 2011.
"You can't be naïve," Vick said. "You got to understand the situation. You got to see it and just know the most important things to do is just to be there and support your team. I didn't want to make this a hard decision for coach. I didn't want to make it a hard decision for anybody.
"I just wanted it to be a smooth transition and it was. Coach Kelly, when we sat down, he didn't have to say much because we're always on the same page."
PHOTOS: RANKINGS THE BEST WEEK 13 GAMESn
FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedInNFL Week 13 games ranked by watchability FullscreenPost to FacebookPosted!A link has been posted to your Facebook feed.
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The Jaguars, surprisingly, are hot. The Browns, unsurprisingly, are not. Enjoy.n
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Technically, both teams are still alive in the putrid NFC East. So, there's that.n
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This should be an easy win for the Cowboys that keeps them on top of the NFC East. Right?n
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Who saw this Week 13 matchup being important to the AFC playoff picture at the start of the season?n
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This is absolutely a must-win game for both the Packers and Lions. Welcome back, Matt Flynn.n
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The Cardinals and their stout defense against the explosive Eagles offense. This ought to be good.n
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Suddenly the Chiefs are reeling after two straight losses. And the Broncos are coming off a heartbreaking loss at New England. The winner here controls the AFC West.
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The top two teams in the NFC fight for control of homefield advantage on "Monday Night Football". This is as close to a playoff game as you'll get this regular season.

USA TODAY SportsFullscreenLike this topic? You may also like these photo galleries:Replay1 of 16AutoplayShow ThumbnailsShow CaptionsLast SlideNext Slide16PhotosPerhaps the way that Vick accepted it was the only surprise from Kelly's announcement. But it wasn't a surprise to his teammates.
Vick could have pouted. After all, he was a No. 1 overall draft pick in 2001, and he had won the job outright in training camp after a long battle with Foles. Then he lost the job because of an injury, which he originally suffered Oct. 6 against the Giants and reinjured three weeks later.
Instead, Vick has praised Foles over the past several weeks, and often given him advice.n
"Mike's been tremendous throughout this whole thing," Foles said. "Mike's done so many things in this league. He's such a great quarterback and still is. But the best thing about Mike is he's a great team player. He's been nothing but helpful to me throughout this whole thing."
Added cornerback Cary Williams: "For him to understand his position and take a back seat, I would say it's surprising, but it doesn't surprise me at the same time. Just because of the type of person he is … It's a selfless act, man, and it just shows his maturity. It just shows the type of person he is. He's a good-hearted dude."
Kelly said he won't change his mind, even if Foles has a bad game in the five remaining for the Eagles.
"I've always believed that you need to have one quarterback," Kelly said. "I don't think our guys are going into games worrying about if they make a mistake. I want our players to always play from a desire to excel, not a fear of failure."
Still, this leaves Vick with an uncertain future. He's 33 years old, and on the last year of his contract.
Vick is convinced that he can start in the NFL next season. No doubt, the way he's handling this demotion can only help his chances.
"It's tough when your future is uncertain," Vick said. "You always have to look at things that you were able to do well. Hopefully that's enough to continue to show that I can still play. I feel good. I feel great. I still feel like I got a lot of time to play this game."
It just might not be this season.n
Martin Frank also writes for The (Wilmington) News Journal, a Gannett propertyn

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