MICHAEL VICK said he finally understands.

"Sliding. Getting down," Vick said yesterday, interrupting a question about how he might avoid missing valuable time with injuries. "I've made my mind up. There's going to be times when I can't get the extra yards. I gotta get down. I get too caught up in the game sometimes, but that leads to me being sidelined, not being accountable for the team on Sunday . . . I don't want to continue to put the team through that."

Vick, sounding remorseful, called it "a situation I had total control of, and I still do, each and every time I step outside of the pocket."

Vick said he will slide "the best way I can," headfirst or knees-first. Vick has said previously he doesn't really know how to slide. Wideout Jason Avant jokingly offered to let Vick attend his nonexistent "sliding camp" for a price.

"I'm still going to play the way I want to play, I'm just going to get down," said Vick, who takes as many shots holding onto the ball in the pocket as he does running. Vick said he definitely will wear rib protection this Sunday when he leads the Eagles against the host Miami Dolphins, his first action after missing three games with broken ribs.

"It's not worth taking a hit for an extra 1 or 2 yards, unless the first-down marker's right there," Vick said.

A fine line

Defensive end Trent Cole said the NFL fined him $7,500 for flipping Seahawks offensive tackle Russell Okung. Okung suffered a torn pectoral muscle on the play and is out for the remainder of the season. Cole was not penalized; the fine came after Seahawks coach Pete Carroll criticized what Cole did, calling it "out of line."

Cole said there was an extensive back-and-forth between himself and Okung that led to the flip after a play ended with the two players entangled.

"There's a lot of stuff that happened in that game. If you watch the game closely, you'll see what I'm talking about," said Cole, who said he will appeal the fine. "I had no intentions to hurt him."

Cole said he doesn't care what Carroll says, but that Carroll, who presumably has viewed the entire game tape, "can't really speak on that. Nobody should be speaking on it."

Ronnie's return

Eagles backup running back Ronnie Brown returns to face the Dolphins this weekend, after playing his first six NFL seasons in Miami, making one Pro Bowl. Miami drafted Brown second overall in 2005.

Brown might be best remembered for starting the Wildcat fad in the NFL a few years back. Miami coach Tony Sparano was looking for offensive production any way he could get it, and decided direct-snapping the ball to Brown was the answer. "I think it was just something different. Nobody had really run it a lot in the NFL . . . Try to give defenses a different look, something they have to adjust to on the run," Brown said yesterday. Of course, the Wildcat faded almost as quickly as it arrived, once defenses made those adjustments.

Brown said he is still close with a few Dolphins players. "It's just another opportunity for us to win a football game," he said. "It's another chapter of my life."

He's No. 2

The last few weeks have not produced a plethora of carries for LeSean McCoy, who has slipped to second in NFL rushing, behind Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew (1,137 yards to 1,134; Jones-Drew has 35 more carries). McCoy was asked yesterday how much being the first Eagles NFL rushing champion since Steve Van Buren in 1949 would mean to him.

"You take it along, right with the team things," McCoy said. "You always try to win games. I never catch myself in a game worrying, like, 'aw, man, I gotta get a couple yards, I gotta get this and that' . . . Maybe later, after the game, you think, 'how'd I do, statswise?' . . . I'd be lying if I said it wouldn't be something special to do, to kind of say that you led the league in rushing. That's something big."

Birdseed

Tom Nelson, the ex-Bengals safety who replaced special teams ace Colt Anderson, will wear No. 49 . . . Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (ankle) was listed as a limited practice participant yesterday, but DRC said he thinks he'll be able to play against the Dolphins. "It felt pretty good out there," Rodgers-Cromartie said after practice. "I had one little incident where I planted wrong, but I came right back in . . . I think I'm healthy enough to go out there and play" . . . Wideout Jeremy Maclin (hamstring) also was listed as limited, but also expects to play.