Eagles, for now, standing by Vick
The Eagles, despite criticism from some media and fans, continue to stick by Michael Vick. Team sources said Thursday that Vick remains their backup quarterback unless further details emerge linking him to last week's Virginia Beach shooting.
The Eagles, despite criticism from some media and fans, continue to stick by Michael Vick.
Team sources said Thursday that Vick remains their backup quarterback unless further details emerge linking him to last week's Virginia Beach shooting.
Vick, meanwhile, released a statement through his lawyers professing his innocence.
"On June 25, 2010, I attended a birthday party held in my honor at The Guadalajara's Restaurant in Virginia Beach, Va.," the statement read. "After I left the event, I learned that a man was shot outside the restaurant.
"I want to assure everyone that I had nothing to do with that incident. I left the restaurant prior to it occurring and did not witness what happened.
"Following the incident, I reported it to the Philadelphia Eagles and to representatives of Commissioner Roger Goodell of the NFL. In addition, I cooperated with and answered any and all questions from law enforcement officials investigating this matter. My statements, from the beginning, explained that I was not there at the time of the shooting and had no knowledge of the events surrounding it. I have been completely truthful and fully cooperative from the very beginning and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement and the NFL as this investigation continues."
The last official comment from the Eagles came only hours after the shooting. The team said it will gather facts on the case to determine whether Vick had any involvement before the Eagles make any decision on his future.
As of Thursday, the team apparently still did not believe that Vick had any connection to the shooting of Quanis Phillips, a codefendant in the quarterback's dogfighting case. His only error was bad judgment, sources conceded, a sentiment echoed by Vick mentor Tony Dungy.
"The only thing he is guilty of is using bad judgment and attending and publicizing parties open to the public and utilizing his name to get people there," said Dungy, who helped shepherd Vick back into the NFL after his 18-month prison stay. "Hopefully, he learns from this."
Less than a week after Virginia Beach police said that he wasn't a "person of interest" in the shooting, they marginally altered their classification of Vick on Thursday. Asked if investigators had ruled out Vick as a suspect, spokesman Adam Bernstein replied, "We have not ruled out anyone."
Bernstein made it clear, however, that police have no suspects and aren't close to making any arrests.
While police have yet to name any witnesses they might have interviewed - other than to confirm that Vick voluntarily spoke to authorities Monday - they might contact Vick's brother, Marcus, the party's host.
A Guadalajara spokesman, Allen Fabijan, told the Hampton Roads Daily Press that video surveillance showed Marcus Vick still at the nightclub after the shooting. Marcus Vick on Thursday denied any involvement in the shooting.
Two days earlier, Fabijan said the video showed Michael Vick leaving in a car three minutes before the early Friday shooting.