PHILADELPHIA // Michael Vick is really back on top now.
The quarterback has agreed a six-year contract with Philadelphia that again makes him one of the highest-paid players in the league, a deal reportedly worth US$100 million (Dh367m).
Vick has come a long way since spending 18 months in a federal prison on dogfighting charges. He led the Eagles to the NFC East title last year, was the starting quarterback in the Pro Bowl and was named the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year.
"I'm very happy we were able to reach an agreement with Michael on this long-term contract," Andy Reid, the Eagles coach, said in a statement. "It's a product of all the hard work Michael has done to better himself over the last couple of years, both on and off the field.
"I'm very proud that he has been able to achieve success again in this league, but he'll be the first one to tell you that there is a lot of work yet to be done by him and this team as a whole. And there's no doubt in my mind that he will continue on that path."
Vick was due to earn slightly more than $16m this season after the Eagles designated him the franchise player in February. After signing the new deal he will make a little less, possibly giving the Eagles salary cap flexibility to give DeSean Jackson, the team's Pro Bowl wide receiver, an extension.
Vick, 31, joined the Eagles after being released from prison in 2009, and played sparingly as the third-string quarterback behind Donovan McNabb, then the starter, and Kevin Kolb.
Vick started last year as the back-up after McNabb left to join the Washington Redskins, but earned the starting role with his exceptional performances after Kolb got hurt in the season opener.
Vick guided the Eagles to an 8-3 record in 11 games as a starter in his first season playing full-time since 2006.
He set career highs in yards passing (3,018), touchdowns passing (21), touchdowns rushing (nine), completion percentage (62.6) and passer rating (100.2).
Vick once was a megastar with the Atlanta Falcons. The No 1 overall pick in the 2001 draft when he left college at Virginia Tech after two seasons, Vick signed a $130 million, 10-year deal in 2005 but lost it all when he went to jail.
He was reviled by fans when he came back, but has won them over with good behaviour off the field, a humble attitude and spectacular plays.
JETS OFFENCE NOT SO HIGH-FLYING
The New York Jets’ offence has a long way to go, but Mark Sanchez, the quarterback, is not worried.
The Jets’ first-team unit struggled in their final dress rehearsal before the regular season, a pedestrian 17-3 pre-season victory over the Giants on Monday night.
“No question,” Sanchez said confidently. “We’re ready.”
That might be a surprising declaration considering the Jets could not manage much against the Giants’ starters in the first half other than one touchdown pass from Sanchez to Santonio Holmes.
“It was a grind, that’s for sure,” Rex Ryan, the coach, said. “We struggled, to say the least.”
Elsewhere, Green Bay announced that Kid Rock, Lady Antebellum and Maroon 5 will play the “NFL Kickoff 2011” concert outside Lambeau Field before the Packers’ September 8 home opener against the New Orleans Saints.
In Arizona, Patrick Peterson, taken fifth overall in this year’s draft, could move into a starting role with the Cardinals after the cornerback Greg Toler was lost for the season with a knee injury.