Michael Vick can shake any blitz thrown at him. But the Eagles quarterback won’t escape Donovan McNabb’s guiding influence.
In 2004, after handing the Falcons a 27-10 defeat in the NFC championship game, McNabb took Vick aside and told him, “Stay strong, your opportunity is going to come.”
Those words take on new meaning this week at Lincoln Financial Field. On Sunday, Vick will be taking the snaps for the Eagles while McNabb enters Philadelphia for the first time as the enemy, commanding the Washington Redskins’ huddle.
“We all never imagined that it would come to this,” Vick said yesterday. “The Lord works in mysterious ways, and we all know that this is a business and, at any given moment, you can be traded or you can be released.”
Or you can be promoted. When training camp opened, Vick was Kevin Kolb’s backup. After Kolb went down with a concussion, Vick’s accelerated play forced coach Andy Reid to make a switch.
“I was just happy that Andy and the organization gave him an opportunity to showcase his talents,” McNabb said.
Remember, it was McNabb who approached Reid about signing Vick in 2009, right after the convicted dog-killer was released from federal prison. Reid was skeptical at first, but eventually warmed to the idea.
“Donovan opened his arms to Michael coming here,” Reid said. “He wanted him here.”
“[Donovan] put in a good word for me and it happened,” Vick said.
McNabb took it a step further by mentoring Vick and helping him develop as both a player and a person.
“[Donovan is] a type of guy, you know, you can be in a bad mood or things are not going so well at home, and he’ll give you good advice,” Vick said.
Don’t call me, bro
Quintin Mikell considers Donovan McNabb a friend. This week, however, the former teammates won’t talk.
In fact, the Eagles strong safety recently changed his phone number and still hasn’t given McNabb the new one.
“I’ll probably wait until after this week to give him my new number and give him a text,” Mikell said, adding that a friendly conversation can lead to bulletin board material.
“You try and stay away from doing too much of that because, at the end of the day, we’re all competitors and the last thing you want to do is give anything away.”