Michael Vick signed with the Eagles because he wanted to. Not because NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or anybody else talked him into it.
And he wants to make sure everybody knows that.
Vick on Thursday issued a statement through the Eagles clearing up the insinuation in the GQ cover story that Goodell pointed Vick toward the Eagles when he was reinstated by the NFL before the 2009 season.
I felt it was necessary to put out a statement today clarifying the article in GQ Magazine, the statement said. I did speak with many people, but the decision to sign in Philadelphia was based on my discussions with my agent, my family and with coach Andy Reid.
And after those discussions, it became clear to me that this was the place I wanted to play and resume my NFL career. The commissioner never told me to sign or not sign with particular teams. Again, I want to make it perfectly clear that this was a decision I made and, as I have said numerous times before, Im very happy with the way it has worked out for me and my family.
In the GQ story, Vick isnt directly quoted as saying Goodell urged him to sign with the Eagles, but the piece does say, After meeting with commissioner Roger Goodell and other reps from the NFL, Vick was convincedand granted league approvalto sign with Philly.
Vick is then directly quoted as saying: And I commend and thank them, because they put me in the right situation.
Vick said in the piece, which was posted on GQs website on Thursday morning, that he considered signing instead with the Bengals or Bills, who he said had starting positions available, where in Philly Vick started out as the third-stringer behind Donovan McNabb and Kevin Kolb.
I think I can say this now, because it's not going to hurt anybody's feelings, and it's the truth, Vick said. Being the third-team quarterback is nothing to smile about. Cincinnati and Buffalo were better options.
For the record, two-time Pro Bowl quarterback Carson Palmer, was still the Bengals starter during that period.
Vick became the Eagles starter last year after McNabb was traded to the Redskins and Kolb got hurt on opening day. Vick finished second to Tom Brady in the MVP voting last year, his first as a starter since 2006.
The NFL also released a statement Thursday clarifying Goodells role in Vick signing with the Eagles on Aug. 13, 2009.
Michael Vick's decision on where to play to put himself in the best position to succeed was entirely his own, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in the statement. Commissioner Goodell obviously met and spoke to Michael and his representatives as part of his decision on whether to reinstate Michael and on what terms. But the commissioner would never steer players to or away from particular teams and did not do so in this case.
Vick spent his first six NFL seasons with Atlanta but, in his first season as the starter with the Eagles, set career-highs in passer rating (100.2), completion percentage (62.6) and passing yards (3,018).
I have always been an outstanding football player, I have always had uncanny abilities, great arm strength, an immense ability to play the game from a quarterback standpoint, Vick told the magazine. The problem was that I wasn't given the liberty to do certain things when I was young. The reason I became a better player was because I came to Philly.
E-mail Reuben Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org.