PHILADELPHIA — Eagles quarterback Michael Vick returned to practice Thursday, just four days after he suffered a concussion against the Falcons in Atlanta.
During the portion of Thursday’s practice open to the media, Vick was seen throwing passes to assistant coaches, jogging around with teammates and participating in all the drills that the other quarterbacks, Mike Kafka and Vince Young, participated in.
The Eagles announced after practice that Vick was a full participant with no restrictions.
“He looked good, he looked fine,” said wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, who had a career-high 171 receiving yards against the Falcons. “In control of the huddle, in control of what was going on, in control of the offense.
“He’s in good shape.”
Vick’s participation showed that he’s been cleared by the NFL-appointed independent neurologist, required under the league’s 2009 concussion policy for a player to “return to football activities.”
According to that policy, a player “should not be considered for return-to-football activities until he is fully asymptomatic, both at rest and after exertion, has a normal neurological examination, normal neuropsychological testing, and has been cleared to return by both his team physician(s) and the independent neurological consultant.”
With a huge media contingent watching, Vick arrived at practice in full pads and a helmet. He watched practice from the sideline on Wednesday afternoon, after participating in a morning walkthrough.
“He’s our leader, so obviously it’ll help us and give us the best chance to win,” Maclin said. “Obviously, we want him out there.”
The Eagles (1-1) face the Giants (1-1) Sunday in their home opener at Lincoln Financial Field. Philadelphia has won the last six straight in this classic NFC East rivalry.
Vick threw for a pair of touchdowns in the 35-31 loss to Atlanta, but couldn’t continue after getting spun by a Falcons rusher into one of his teammates, right tackle Todd Herremans. Vick was seen on national television spitting up blood on the sideline. The Eagles said later that was caused by him biting his tongue.
Vick was replaced by Kafka, as Young, who was signed to be the backup, missed the first two games with a hamstring injury.
“Not to say we don’t have confidence in the other guys, we’re very confident,” running back LeSean McCoy said. “But Mike Vick is Mike Vick. We’re happy he’s back.”
Giants coach Tom Coughlin, in a conference call with the media earlier this week, said he expected Vick to play, and that New York was not putting together a different gameplan without Vick in it.
Vick has only played a full 16-game regular season once in his career. He missed three games with a rib injury last year.
“He’s one of the great leaders on this team,” offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said. “He has old-school mentality.”
Maclin said Vick’s desire to get back on the field as quickly as possible after a fairly serious injury shows what kind of leader he is.
“That’s what you want out of your quarterback,” Maclin said. “You want him to want to be out there, you want him to put everything on his shoulders, and he wants to be the guy to take us where we want to go.
“We’re going to rally behind him, and we definitely want him out there.”