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Eagles want protection for Vick, whether running or passing

PHILADELPHIA -- Michael Vick has taken shots to the helmet, been speared and had his facemask grabbed without seeing a yellow flag.

Carucci: Protect Vick at all costs

The Eagles can't afford to lose Michael Vick, which is why they will do whatever

it takes to shield their QB, even questioning how officials treat him in games,

Vic Carucci says. **More ...**

The Philadelphia Eagles aren't happy about it.

Vick, coach Andy Reid and teammates have all taken turns expressing concern that other teams aren't being penalized for what they perceive to be illegal hits.

"It really ticks me off that Mike is getting all those hits," safety Quintin Mikell said Thursday. "When we played the Giants, it seemed like any time anyone got near Eli Manning, they were ready to call it. It shouldn't be like that."

Earlier this week, Vick made it clear that he doesn't believe he's being treated the same as other quarterbacks. He said only once this season has an opponent been penalized for a late hit against him. That was against the Detroit Lions in Week 2.

"Not to take anything away from the other quarterbacks in the league, (but) if you go back and watch the film, I'm always getting hit after I let go of the football," Vick said on his weekly radio show on 94.1 FM in Virginia Beach.

"I'm constantly getting hit after I throw the football, constantly getting my facemask pulled and getting hit in the head, and it's never called," he added. "... I just think that because I run the ball so much, the referees sometimes will overlook that. They have to understand when I'm in the pocket, I'm a passer. If I get hit late, they should call it. I'm not complaining. I just want to be treated fairly."

Reid rarely says anything negative about officials or publicly questions them. However, he didn't duck the question when asked about the late hits on Vick one day after the Eagles' Thursday night victory over the Houston Texans.

"It bothers me to be honest with you," Reid said. "That bothers me. I see the same thing you're seeing, and it bothers me. He does run, but he's still the quarterback, and you can't treat him like he's a running back there. That's not what the rules state."

Reid didn't care to elaborate on the issue this week, and he wouldn't discuss whether or not he complained to the NFL about it.

"I'm done with all of that," he said. "We're moving on playing the game, and Michael feels the same way. And I probably put him in a bind by saying anything about it. So it's about going and playing now. We're not worried about any of that stuff."

The NFL fined Eagles defensive end Trent Cole $20,000 for a low hit on Texans quarterback Matt Schaub last week. Cole said he was pushed into Schaub by an offensive lineman, and he plans to appeal the fine.

Last month, Cole drew a penalty for tapping Peyton Manning's helmet during a win over the Indianapolis Colts. Cole, like many Eagles, sees Vick taking similar shots without any repercussions.

"I don't know what's going on," Cole said. "It'll surface."

Vick worries that teams will continue taking shots at him after the whistle if the referees don't start calling penalties.

"It's going to keep happening," he said. "If you look over the past five games, it hasn't stopped. I'm constantly getting hit. Every chance they get, I'm getting hit. That's the game. At the same time, it takes a toll on me. I just don't think it's fair. I just hope the referees watch that closely and call it when it needs to be called."

Vick has made a remarkable comeback after missing two seasons because he was serving time in federal prison for dogfighting charges. He's a major reason why the Eagles (8-4) are tied for first in the NFC East heading into Sunday night's game at Dallas (4-8).

Vick has thrown for 2,243 yards and 15 touchdowns with just two interceptions. He also has 467 rushing yards and six touchdowns. His passer rating of 105.7 is second only to New England's Tom Brady.

There was outrage among some fans and animal rights activists when the Eagles signed Vick to a two-year contract last year. But Vick now leads Pro Bowl voting -- the latest evidence many fans seem willing to forgive him. But might referees be treating him differently because of his past?

"I'm not gonna go there," Mikell said, "but it does make you wonder."

Notes:Eagles CB Asante Samuel didn't practice Thursday because of a knee injury, and it's uncertain whether or not he can play against the Cowboys. Samuel missed the game against the Texans, but he returned to practice Wednesday, only to sit out one day later. ... RT Winston Justice also hasn't practiced this week because of a knee injury.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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