Vick pumped about return to Atlanta

Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. (GARY HERSHORN/Reuters)

Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. (GARY HERSHORN/Reuters)

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:34 PM ET

TORONTO - Sunday doesn’t figure to be Michael Vick’s Dog Day Afternoon when he returns to Atlanta’s Georgia Dome as the Philadelphia Eagles starting quarterback.

It’s the second coming for Vick to Atlanta since his removal from the Falcons for his involvement in the disgusting dog-fighting ring that he was involved with.

He first returned to Atlanta two seasons back when he was riding the bench as the backup to Donovan McNabb.

In that game, a 34-7 victory for the Eagles, Vick came into the game and tossed one touchdown pass while running for another. He was also greeted like a returning rock star as the cheers eclipsed the boos by a wide margin.

This time, though, Vick is back in a prime-time role as the starting quarterback of what many believe will become one of the most exciting and high-scoring offences in the NFL.

“I just remember being in the Dome with the crowd cheering my name, which was special to me and all my teammates,” Vick recalled of the game two seasons back. “They thought that was the greatest thing in the world. Everybody on the sideline came up to me to say how excited they were to be part of a situation like that. They had never seen it before.

“I will always remember that day, and not for the plays I made. That was just a fraction of the joy I felt that day. It’s just the appreciation from the Atlanta Falcons fans I felt that day, even though I was in a Philadelphia Eagles uniform.”

What happened in his time in Atlanta, the highs and the lows, is something that Vick makes crystal clear that he has turned the page on. It’s the past. It’s over. Time to move on.

“To be honest, I’ve not really thought about that in a while,” Vick said in a conference call. “It may cross my mind every once in a while, but I’m so thankful to be in Philly right now.

“I know things happen for a reason. Maybe it was meant for me to be here. I couldn’t have landed in a better city, a better place. This is my home, this is where I want to be. I’m just thankful for that.”

If Vick isn’t getting goosebumps over his return, than neither are the Falcons. Let Vick trip down memory lane in he wants, the Falcons simply want to win a game and rebound from the upset loss to the Bears last week in Chicago.

“He wasn’t here when I got here,” middle linebacker Curtis Lofton said. “We’ve got new guys, a new team. I don’t think that’s really relevant.”

And so, too, does Vick.

“There’s no need to talk about the past,” he said. “Just move forward.”

THE REAL McCOY?

In Cleveland, the down-and-out and always rebuilding Browns will go only as far as Colt McCoy takes them.

In last Sunday’s loss to Cincinnati, it was the Browns that played like clowns instead of the Bengals.

Now in his second season, McCoy completed just 19 of 40 passes for 213 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception. His performance certainly didn’t impress Pat Shurmur, the Browns new head coach.

“I think just in terms of general efficiency, there were some (passes) when you look at it and say: ‘My goodness,’“ Shurmur told the Plain Dealer.

“I think what we’re trying to build here is guys that are willing to say: ‘I have to play better,’ and I think that’s what he’ll tell you.”

On that, McCoy agrees.

Last season McCoy eventually took over the No. 1 spot due to injuries to Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace. He made eight starts, posted a 2-6 record, but showed that he is the Browns quarterback of the future.

But not if he comes up with a bunch of mediocre efforts such as the one last Sunday.

“I can be a lot more efficient,” McCoy said. “I think collectively as a group we can be more efficient.

“As a passing team (in a West Coast offence), we’ve got to be able to do better, get the ball outside a little more. I’ve got to make better throws, obviously. I can play better.”

QUICK HITS

One day after it seemed unlikely, it now appears as if Chicago Bears veteran linebacker Brian Urlacher may play this Sunday in New Orleans against the Saints. Urlacher was back at the Bears training facility after being absent due to the death of his mother. Still, Urlacher’s schedule for the remainder of the week remains unclear ... Another game, another injury for talented Dallas wide receiver Dez Bryant. Bryant hasn’t been able to participate in the Cowboys practices this week. He is dealing with a thigh contusion, suffered in their loss Sunday night to the Jets. Bryant was moving at half speed for most of the second half against the Jets. Last season he missed four games. It is not known if he’ll be available for Sunday’s game against San Francisco ... It appears as if rookie Andy Dalton will make his second start this week against Denver. In his NFL debut last Sunday, Dalton had to leave the game due to an injured wrist. However, Thursday, head coach Marvin Lewis said Dalton will be able to play.

NO PROBLEM

The New York Jets say there’s no problem with quarterback Mark Sanchez.

We aren’t talking about Sanchez not showing he is able to win the big one, just that he is physically ready to start Sunday’s home game against Jacksonville.

Sanchez took some big hits in leading the Jets to their 27-24 comeback victory over the Cowboys and the Jets wanted to make sure that everything was fine and put him through a series of concussion tests. Everything came back positive.

“You wouldn’t think a GQ cover guy would be as tough as he is,” receiver Plaxico Burress told the New York Post.

It was all just precautionary.

“The training staff just wanted to be extra cautious and make sure I’m doing well, especially in the beginning of the season, so I can make it through the long haul,” Sanchez said.

Jets’ fans are hoping that by long haul, he is referring to the Suer Bowl.


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