Michael Vick sat alone at his locker stall, as accessible as he was for most of the last four years.

A reporter wanted to know why he agreed to start in Sunday's season finale when the quarterback had little to gain in playing.

"I'll tell you the truth," Vick said Wednesday. "Because I was asked."

Love him or hate him - and there was certainly plenty of middle ground, too - Vick did everything that was asked of him by the Eagles.

Wildcat? Sure. Dutifully sit behind the heir apparent? You got it. Become more of a pocket quarterback? Yes. Adjust to a new offensive line coach after a career season? OK. Don't say a peep when the rookie gets the nod for the rest of the season? Fine.

Off the field, Vick accepted almost every invitation to speak out against animal cruelty and became one of the Eagles' most involved players in charitable work, although he may not have been the "agent of change" Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie hoped he would become.

There was that one hiccup in June 2010, when an ex-dogfighting associate was shot in the leg at Vick's 30th-birthday party. But most of the headaches associated with Vick came between the lines.

So when coach Andy Reid went to Vick on Monday after he had learned of Nick Foles' fractured hand and asked him to step back in, the answer was yes, as it's always been.

"I can't not play," Vick said.

Vick said that his competitiveness and the obligation he felt toward his teammates were his primary reasons for playing. He could also use the opportunity as one last showcase or to demonstrate to other teams that he has recovered from a concussion.

But Vick has potentially more to lose in risking another injury. He has not played since Nov. 11, his offensive line remains a battered and struggling unit, and the New York Giants still have a smidgen of a chance to make the playoffs.

"He has played for a while in his career, he's made a lot of money, and he could very easily just be like he doesn't want to play anymore and just look forward to next season," defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins said.

The Eagles, meanwhile, have only pride and sending Reid out with a win as motivation before they head into an offseason of uncertainty .

So the playing conditions won't be ideal for a quarterback who will likely be in search of a new team.

Like Reid, Vick's time in Philadelphia appears to be coming to an end. Fittingly, some could say, they'll go out together. It was Reid who brought Vick here in August 2009, and it was the coach who decided two games into the 2010 season to abandon his Kevin Kolb succession plan and go with Vick.

It seemed like a stroke of genius for most of the season. The Eagles opened 10-4, with Vick often playing at an MVP level.

They won their 10th game in spectacular fashion. Trailing the Giants by 21 points midway through the fourth quarter, the Eagles won when Vick engineered a comeback that was capped by DeSean Jackson's game-winning punt return.

"I thought we had a great shot to go to the Super Bowl," Vick said.

The Eagles lost the following week to the Vikings. Vick turned the ball over twice and had his worst game of the season. Two weeks later, the Eagles lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Packers in the playoffs.

Since the Miracle at the New Meadowlands, the Eagles are 12-22. What went wrong?

"Just so many moving parts [with] guys in and out," said Vick, who will be back at MetLife Stadium for the first time since the Miracle game. "We had coaching changes and things of that nature. I really can't say what happened or what went wrong."

Vick, of course, played a role in the slide. It's difficult to envision him back next season even though he has three years left on his contract. He is due $15.5 million in base salary and would likely have to agree to a lower number to have any chance at returning.

The Eagles can save themselves $3 million if they release Vick before Feb. 6. They could keep Vick beyond the Feb. 6 deadline and try to trade him. He will be 33 before the start of next season and has missed 11 games in three seasons because of injury.

Vick will be one of the more attractive quarterbacks if he's on the open market. The New York Jets, Buffalo, Arizona, and Cleveland have been mentioned as possible landing spots.

"I know I got a lot of good football left in me," Vick said. He added, "Hopefully, I can help somebody's organization next year."

If his time with the Eagles was any indication, he'll be more than willing.

Contact Jeff McLane at jmclane@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @Jeff_McLane.