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Eagles coach Chip Kelly praises new Jets QB Michael Vick

Head coach Chip Kelly of the Philadelphia Eagles

Head coach Chip Kelly of the Philadelphia Eagles looks on prior to a game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 29, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. Credit: Getty Images / Justin Edmonds

ORLANDO, Fla. - Eagles coach Chip Kelly, who named Michael Vick his starter last year after a training camp competition with Nick Foles, believes the Jets got a terrific quarterback when they signed Vick last Friday to a one-year deal to compete with incumbent Geno Smith.

In fact, Kelly couldn't say enough positive things about Vick on Wednesday morning during an NFC coaches breakfast at the NFL owners' meetings.

"I still think he's got a lot of football left in him," Kelly said. "He's got tremendous arm skill. I don't know too many guys in the league that have the arm that Mike has. There were days in practice in December when he rips a couple and you're like, 'Whoa.' He can throw the football. Still has the ability. I think [the Jets] are getting a proven veteran, and I'm real excited for him."

Kelly said Vick's speed isn't quite what it once was but is still better than just about any quarterback in today's game.

"He's probably not as fast as he was when he first came in the league, but when he first came in the league he was the fastest guy to ever play the position, so it's not like when a slower version of Michael is a lot faster than maybe every other quarterback in the league with the exception of one or two," Kelly said.

Kelly said the Jets present the ideal situation for Vick. First, he gets a chance to compete for the starting job. He also is reunited with former Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg.

"I talked to [Vick] after he signed. I'm happy for him," Kelly said. "He wanted to go somewhere where he felt like he had an opportunity and I know he's going to go out and compete. I think the familiarity with the system will help him. I don't think he wanted to go learn another system. That was part of what he was thinking as he went through his decision.

"I think it's a great fit," he said. "I know he's got a great relationship with Marty and Marty's a hell of a coach. I'm not sure exactly how they're going to do things, but my year with Michael, he was outstanding."

Kelly said Vick is a positive influence on and off the field.

"No. 1, I think Mike's an awesome person," he said. "He was a great teammate. If you really look back at it through Michael's eyes, it was a difficult situation for him last year. He rushes for 79 yards in a quarter and a half against the Giants [on Oct. 6] and pulls his hamstring and then never really plays again. But I think he also understood the situation. Nick came in and he had his opportunity when Mike was out and did an unbelievable job."

Vick returned only once more last season after Foles suffered a concussion, but Vick re-injured his hamstring and didn't play the rest of the season. Philadelphia went on to win the NFC East before losing to the Saints in the first round of the playoffs.

"Mike even knew it would be difficult to tell Nick, 'Hey, you're not going to play any longer because Mike's back,'" Kelly said. "Mike did try to come back the time when Nick was out and probably did a little bit too much and got re-injured again, and by the time he was really healthy after Thanksgiving, Nick was on a run and the team was on a run and it was the best decision at the time."

Kelly said he was impressed with Vick's demeanor. The quarterback didn't make any noise about wanting to play again, despite losing his job.

"I think how Michael handled that situation was unbelievable," Kelly said. "I don't know if I would have handled it with the poise and grace that he handled it, but he was great. He was great for Nick, he was great for team. He was a true leader in terms of being selfless."

New York Sports