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Mike Vick, Leader

Mar 5, 2011, 3:30 PM EDT

While a pair of extensions to the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement are cause for optimism that a new deal can be reached, the Eagles’ signal caller is still preparing for the worst. Mike Vick, who signed his one-year franchise tender on Wednesday, has a contingency plan in the event of a lockout: he’ll organize his own workouts.

We_talkin_practice “Wherever we agree to be collectively. It may be Florida, it may be Hawaii. We’ll get our work in,” Vick said. “Being on the same page, timing, which is very important. I think everybody has to be on one accord, all thinking the same. Practice and film study are important, but just familiarizing ourselves with each other, that’s going to be big for us.”

One of the primary concerns with an extended lockout is the absence of off-season workouts, possibly even a shortened training camp and preseason. Those programs are especially important to new and developing players, such as free agent acquisitions, the incoming class of rookies, and the slew of second-year players already on the roster.

Many view the upcoming camps as vital to Vick’s growth as well. This is the first off-season he enters as a starting quarterback since returning to the league.

Vick had an abbreviated summer in 2009, joining the team after they had already played their first preseason game. Last year he worked behind Kevin Kolb, who took the bulk of the snaps and coaches’ instruction in practice. And while Kolb was gaining rapport with DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, Vick was throwing passes to Chad Hall and Jordan Norwood.

This being Vick’s third year in Andy Reid’s system, he’s expected to take the proverbial next step. Obviously, there is no replacing the environment at Lehigh or the NovaCare Complex, but any progress in lieu of that structure would be welcome.

Maybe most important at all, this is another sign that Vick “gets it.” Not that there were any doubts about his new and improved work ethic or desire to win, but now he’s going above and beyond the call of duty. Privately organized workouts are not entirely unusual—Donovan McNabb routinely invited the wide receivers to his home in Arizona—but it serves as yet another example of Vick’s maturity.

Thankfully, it may not come to this.

While it’s still anybody’s guess whether owners can settle their differences with the players union in the next week, the fact that they extended the deadline at all is a sign negotiations are at least serious. Funny… as soon as the ruling came down that owners violated the current CBA and may not receive money from their television contracts during a lockout, suddenly they seem very motivated to get a deal completed.

>> Vick: Long-term pact depends on ‘actions’on and off the field’ [NFL.com]
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