Summer is heating up and so is NFL football, so FanHouse is at Eagles training camp to get you the rundown on the Birds as they get ready for the '09 season.
BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- Everybody knows Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens aren't best friends. So it was no surprise to see some rolling of the eyes from the Eagles' quarterback when the subject of Owens' new reality TV show came up during his press conference this morning. McNabb was asked for a review of the show and said, "The T.O. Show was all right. The first episode ... they had some interesting people on there." And asked how they could improve the show, McNabb quipped, "Don't have it."
But McNabb does agree with Owens on one thing -- the status of Michael Vick.
"I know that he's able to train now with (trainer) Tom Shaw," McNabb said. "And I'm looking forward to him being reinstated and having the opportunity to get back on the football field."
Asked directly if Vick should receive a further suspension from commissioner Roger Goodell (which it seems he likely will), McNabb didn't go as far as Owens, who suggested Goodell experience prison first hand, but he didn't hesitate either.
"No," he said. "Not at all."
It's interesting to note that players are lining up in support of Vick, and it speaks to a couple of larger issues. First of all, the players have expressed to the new union leadership that they are sick of Goodell administering the league's personal conduct policy all by himself. The players think they should have some right of appeal to somebody other than the person issuing the discipline in the first place. The union is discussing plans to make an issue of this in the current collective bargaining negotiations, and the Vick case is giving them an opportunity to at least hint about their overall displeasure with the current system.
Second, it's not being organized as such, but an issue like this could act as something of a dry run for the unified, outspoken way the union hopes the players conduct themselves publicly during the CBA talks. The union believes that two key parts of its strategy in these negotiations are remaining unified (duh) and being able to count on star-level players to deliver the union's message. If players are willing to speak out against the league and commissioner in support of Vick, then they may be more likely to speak out in support of their side of the CBA dispute.
Again, not that it's being set up like that. But as union head DeMaurice Smith, who met with Vick last week and continues to express the union's support for him, watches the way somebody like McNabb handles this situation, it has to make him hopeful.
"We talked to our players and as you know I met with him," Smith told a Comcast reporter when asked about Vick at the Gene Upshaw Memorial golf tournament Sunday in Lake Tahoe. "We are doing everything we can to be of help to him as he seeks to return to his community and to football. We believe in second chances but recognize that this decision is up to the commissioner."