Vick reverses field, says Goodell didn't steer him to Eagles

Michael Vick is glad he chose the Philadelphia Eagles, even if he had more attractive options.

After telling GQ magazine that he didn't want to come to Philadelphia to be a third-string quarterback following his release from federal prison two years ago, Vick clarified his remarks Thursday.

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"I did speak with many people, but the decision to sign in Philadelphia was based on my discussions with my agent, my family and with Coach (Andy) Reid," Vick said in a statement released hours before the Eagles played the Pittsburgh Steelers in a preseason game. "And after those discussions, it became clear to me that this was the place I wanted to play and resume my NFL career.

"The commissioner never told me to sign or not sign with particular teams. Again, I want to make it perfectly clear that this was a decision I made and, as I have said numerous times before, I'm very happy with the way it has worked out for me and my family."

Vick reiterated the words from his pregame statement in the visiting team's media room as midnight approached Thursday, denying that the distraction of the day's controversy had anything to do with poor performance in a 24-14 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

In validating his decision to sign with the Eagles after being tempted by opportunities where he might have had the chance to start immediately, Vick pointed to a preseason game against the New York Jets that first season with Philadelphia in 2009.

"I tried to take off running, and I fell flat on my face because I had no legs up under me," he said. "That right there really showed me that I wasn't ready to play an entire season. The pressures that came along with it, what it takes as far as your body and physical condition and endurance that you need. After that game I was just happy to have that opportunity to sit back and watch the game for a year, be a rookie again."

Vick also talked about how, even after discussions with Reid compelled him to sign with the Eagles, the quarterback still had to convince ownership (Jeffrey Lurie and family) he was fit to join the team.

"As a competitor, you want to play, and of course Cincinnati and Buffalo were on the table at that time," Vick said. "I really had to evaluate my situation and how my body felt, had to take some things into consideration and also had to convince them to let me come here. That was after I made the decision to come here and negotiations with my agent with the Eagles. Once the decision was made and they bring me that's when everything worked out."

Vick, who rejuvenated his career with the Eagles last year and started in the Pro Bowl, says in the September issue of GQ that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was among those who convinced him Philadelphia was the right destination.

"I think I can say this now, because it's not going to hurt anybody's feelings, and it's the truth," Vick says. "I didn't want to come to Philadelphia. Being the third-team quarterback is nothing to smile about. Cincinnati and Buffalo were better options."

Vick also says in the article that he's happy he ended up in Philadelphia because it's "the right situation."

Vick played sparingly in 2009 behind Donovan McNabb and Kevin Kolb. McNabb was traded to the Washington Redskins in April 2010, and Vick eventually replaced Kolb after he was injured in the season opener last year. Vick then had the best all-around season of his career, led the Eagles to the NFC East title and was The Associated Press Comeback Player of the Year.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Goodell didn't force Vick's hand in any way.

"Michael Vick's decision on where to play to put himself in the best position to succeed was entirely his own," Aiello said in an email to "Commissioner Goodell obviously met and spoke to Michael and his representatives as part of his decision on whether to reinstate Michael and on what terms. But the commissioner would never steer players to or away from particular teams and did not do so in this case."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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