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Friday, November 30, 2012

QB Vick, RB McCoy out for embattled Eagles

Nick Foles handing off to Bryce Brown in front of a national television audience wasn't the way the Philadelphia Eagles envisioned their season going.
The two rookies will be starting again Sunday night when the struggling Eagles (3-8) visit Dallas (5-6) because Michael Vickand LeSean McCoy are still sidelined by concussions. Vick, the four-time Pro Bowl quarterback, is missing his third straight game and McCoy, the All-Pro running back, his second in a row.
Neither Vick nor McCoy has even been cleared to begin practicing since getting hurt. Vick remains in stage four of five in his recovery and McCoy is in stage two, according to head athletic trainer Rich Burkholder. The team has a five-phase recovery protocol, which is separate from the NFL-mandated concussion program.
Both Burkholder and coach Andy Reid flatly denied a television report that Vick has complained of being a ''victim of politics.''
''Michael has hit a plateau in his rehab,'' Burkholder said. ''There is no conspiracy here. We do not grade the ImPACT test, which he has not gotten back to baseline. I send that paper from the computer off to the people in Pittsburgh. They come back and say he has not passed baseline. That is an NFL rule. That has nothing to do with anything with us. He has to pass that before we can ever entertain the fact of him playing.''
Burkholder said Vick is expected to take the test again on Monday. If he doesn't pass, it's possible the team will send Vick to Pittsburgh to meet with concussion specialists. Burkholder identified the issue being related to Vick's eye movement and his balance.
''He's leveled off,'' Burkholder said. ''We recognize the problem. We're going to rehabilitate it.''
Vick issued a statement after Friday's practice thanking fans and the organization for their support.
''I feel strong and healthy,'' he said. ''As a professional athlete, I want to play in every game but the NFL has a specific protocol to protect players. My focus is to complete this process successfully, so I can rejoin my team on the field.''
Said Reid: ''Everything is in the best interest of him right now.''

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