After veteran quarterback Michael Vick called out his Philadelphia Eagles teammates for a lack of effort at season's end (h/t Tim McManus of PhillyMag.com), he is now in damage-control mode, perhaps because his contract was recently restructured.
When asked about his comments toward teammates, Vick told 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia he has already started to ensure the necessary relationships are still strong.
I talked to about 15, 16 of my teammates already. They know me as a person. They know me as a competitor. I wasn’t pointing the finger at one person. It would have been easy to just point out one group of guys or a couple individuals who I thought could have played better, but I said that including myself.
Vick likely never expected to be back in Philadelphia this season after watching Andy Reid get fired, figuring the team would cut loose his huge contract. The hiring of new head coach Chip Kelly, however, has forced the team to realize Vick may be its best option for 2013.
That’s not to say Vick is the long-term answer; in fact, the Eagles could decide to trade him before the 2013 season begins, or relegate him to back up Nick Foles.
There is no question Vick will have to change to fit into Kelly’s system and stop turning the ball over, but the biggest priority for the on-field general will be earning the trust of his teammates while still being able to push them to perform at their best.
When asked about changes he'll make heading into the new season, the veteran QB stated in the same interview that he will not change the way he plays the game or the attitude in which he carries himself on the field.
Well, if you think about what I endured [last season] and how many hits I took, I stayed upright for seven games and took about 180 hits. I am going to train the way I train, I’m not going to change anything. I’m going to be who I am and I’m not going to change. I think everybody just has to accept it. I am going to put in all the hard work to be the best player I can be, but it’s not just about me. It’s about team, it’s about unity, it’s about everybody playing together. That’s the only way we’re going to win.
The leadership qualities in the face of adversity are admirable, but Vick has to know that the way he played last year and the criticism of his teammates will not be tolerated under the new regime in Philadelphia (or any other franchise, for that matter).