Michael Vick returns to football with mixed reviews


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Convicted animal abuser Michael Vick returned to pro football last night as his new team, the Philadelphia Eagles, played their first preseason game. Although Vick is suspended for the first few regular-season games, he is allowed to participate in preseason games as they are considered exhibition games. Pro- and anti-Vick Eagles fans attended the game at Lincoln Financial Field, some of whom carried signs of support or protest.

Although Vick only was on the field for six plays, his presence was notable because he took a few snaps at quarterback, lined up as a wide receiver, and the southpaw even threw a pass right-handed. Vick completed all of his passes to the delight of the fans, his coach and his teammates.


But how about the infamously critical Philly fans who even once booed Santa Claus at an Eagles game? The Associated Press reported that they were supportive of Vick from the beginning.

Philadelphia Coach Andy Reiddidn’t wait long to use Vick. The three-time Pro Bowl quarterback jogged onto the field for the second play from scrimmage, lining up as a wide receiver, and got a hearty welcome from the notoriously tough Philadelphia fans. ‘When I was running out onto the field I was listening to see what the reaction was going to be,’ Vick said. ‘I was very pleased. I really didn’t expect that reaction, but I was very thankful.’

Photos from sign-toting fans after the jump.

Vick fans hold up signs during the game. ()

A fan holds up a sign reading ‘#7 Welcome home Vick!’ during the fourth quarter. ()

Philadelphia Eagles season-ticket holder Clarissa Sherrow of Nottingham, Pa., carries a sign before the game. Sherrow said she wanted to make sure Vick -- who has pledged to fight animal cruelty -- lives up to his promises. ‘I’m not protesting; I’m a true Eagles fan,’ Sherrow said. ()

A fan holds up a sign during the second quarter. ()

Steve Miller, from Columbia, Pa., altered his Eagles jersey to reflect his views about his team’s new backup quarterback. ()

Before the game, fans display a flag against Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie in response to signing Michael Vick. ()

Fan Joseph Simmons sells T-shirts supporting Vick outside Lincoln Financial Field before the game. ()


-- Tony Pierce

Top photo: Anti-Vick protesters hold a sign outside Lincoln Financial Field before the game. Credit: Jim McIsaac / Getty Images