“Such is the magnetism of crime and rumor that, in his annual State of the Winless address, Jeff-rey Lurie largely was spared a grilling on topics of real importance.
Instead, the Eagles’ owner spent most of yesterday’s yearly press conference defending his decision to retain controversial ex-convict Michael Vick after Vick’s latest indiscretion.
The trade of Donovan McNabb? The rise of Kevin Kolb? The looming labor issue that could shut down the sport? The possible change in schedule that could result in 18 regular-season games?
The debacles in Dallas that ended last season and denied the Birds a Super Bowl title for the 44th time in 44 years?
Lurie, instead, reiterated that, after gathering the facts gathered by his team, the league, police in Virginia and Vick’s probation officer, he saw no reason to dismiss Vick. This, 1 day after commissioner Roger Goodell finally cleared Vick of wrongdoing.
The issue concerned Vick attending his birthday party in Virginia Beach, some 40 miles from Vick’s hometown of Newport News, the area where Vick’s dogfighting and gambling crimes were committed.
Lurie professes a One Strike policy for Vick, who joined the team amid a firestorm of criticism last season. But this wasn’t a strike. Vick checked his swing.
Then, briefly, it was on to more important, if less lurid, matters.
Such as trading the best quarterback in team history and making a division rival better.
“I don’t see it that way,” Lurie said of McNabb landing in Washington.
What he does see is how McNabb generally has been painted: a great guy and a good QB who didn’t win the big one.
“The best quarterback the Eagles have ever had. Classy. Terrific in every way,” Lurie said. “Did not win a Super Bowl. A very extraordinary decade, by any measure. Except for the lack of a Super Bowl championship.”
Which made McNabb expendable even before the 2009 season if he hadn’t been coming off a knee injury. Lurie made it clear that, had the Eagles received a sound offer for the unsound McNabb after 2008, Kolb would have taken over last season.
“Donovan, coming off the ACL, maybe didn’t have the league-wide [market] value,” Lurie said.
McNabb’s market value in 2010: a second-round pick this year and a third- or fourth-round pick in next year’s draft. That is “the value of a No. 1 pick,” in Lurie’s eyes.”
PhillySportsCentral.com – Philadelphia Eagles news, rumors, blog, & message board discussion forums