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Nick Foles and Michael Vick held a joint press conference Thursday at the NovaCare Complex. (Geoff Mosher/CSN)
Updated 4 p.m.
Mike Vick said history would be made. He walked to the podium after practice Thursday, side by side with Nick Foles. Together, the starting quarterback and backup -- whoever is which is still up for debate -- addressed the media as one instead of two.
“Ain’t never had a tag-team press conference,” Vick boasted.
He’s right. There’s never been a press conference quite like Thursday’s. It started with Vick dropping one of his trademark bombs, just not to DeSean Jackson. Asked if he would play Sunday against the Cowboys, he said, “Nah, I’m not playing this week. Not this week.”
He was dead serious.
Regarding his healing hamstring, Vick said "everything is coming along as planned" and he "can't rush." While he's been able to push it, he said didn't want to "push it too much" and would rather "just kinda let things happen naturally.”
The tone of the conference quickly shifted to him and Foles and their tight-knit friendship in the face of a public quarterback controversy, with reporters wondering how this situation that seems so ticklish and awkward for everyone else involved has somehow united them.
Somehow, it’s brought them closer together than they’ve ever been. So much that they stood side by side at a press conference.
“Questions are asked,” Foles said. “And that’s the one thing Mike and I, we don’t worry about it. I respect Mike with everything I have. I love Mike. We have a great relationship and we don’t worry about that.
“We know the most important thing is for the Philadelphia Eagles to win, no matter who’s the quarterback. We can’t worry about that. That’s what messes up friendships, and that’s not what this is about. We want to keep this friendship for as long as we live.”
Vick echoed his friend’s sentiment.
“Regardless of what happens, it’s all about room for one another,” he added. “This is a fun game. You can’t have animosity towards a teammate because of the way he plays or what people want or what they feel.
“We know how hard it is to play this game. We’re going to always root for each other and always try to be there for one another and whatever comes out of it it’s gonna be all good for the both of us. We appreciate that. Our friendship has grown over the years. I love Nick, like he said. That friendship is there and it won’t go anywhere.”
But there’s still the issue. What happens if Foles, who slayed the Bucs in Tampa on Sunday while Vick nursed his hamstring injury, takes down the Cowboys on Sunday? Where does Chip Kelly go when Vick’s ready to come back?
(Don’t ask Kelly. He still refuses to rule out Vick for Sunday, even though Vick ruled himself out.)
Vick’s responses seemed to suggest some level of resignation that his job will eventually be won by Foles. Crazier, even, Vick seemed OK with it.
He said Sunday’s game would “be fun to watch” from the sideline and that he looked forward to Foles’ first professional start against a team Vick has historically carved up. Vick referenced “the nature of the business” and vowed that he would be ready “when I’m needed.”
He even applauded Foles’ athleticism after Foles joked that he’s trying to emulate Vick’s open-field moves, evidenced by the four-yard touchdown run against Tampa.
“That was all you,” Vick told Foles. “That was all you.”
“See, what people don’t know is Nick is very athletic,” he added, addressing reporters. “You’ll start to see it as time goes on, but I’ve always admired the things he can do, the things you don’t see when we’re out in practice, the way he handles the football, the way he moves around.
“It translates over when he’s out on the field. Don’t be surprised when you see him getting rushing touchdowns and moving a little bit. That’s part of what he (can) do.”
The conference lasted about 12 minutes, and not once did either quarterback seem disingenuous or fraudulent or that they hatched this tandem press conference plan to diffuse the city’s most polarizing sports topic this week.
Vick and Foles reacted and responded like two honest individuals who genuinely respect and admire each other for more than just football acumen.
Vick even seemed comfortable discussing the controversial 2010 quarterback switch between him and Kevin Kolb that appears imminent in the same way this year, except with Vick losing his job to injury this time.
“In 2010, when I had an opportunity to come in and play, it was everything that I wanted, everything that I dreamed of,” he said. “And the way it happened, it just was what it was. I didn’t think I was going to be the starter for the rest of the season but that was the way the good Lord had it all planned out. Me and Kev made the most of it. Me and Kev are still great friends to this day. We all had success, a lot of success along the way. That’s what it’s all about.”
Foles may have won Vick’s respect, but there’s a legion of Eagles fans out there with a much higher standard.
They’ll be watching Sunday, and then waiting for Kelly’s ultimate decision.
“I’m not trying to do anything [to prove myself],” Foles said. “I play to help my teammates, to be a team player. The reason -- and I’m sure Mike, too -- we started playing quarterback (is because) we want the ball in our hand every time. We want to be the one who has to make the decisions and help our teams win no matter what. That’s all I think about. The future, the good Lord will take care of that. I don’t worry about that I just worry about what I control today, and I just live my life.”