Jeff Lurie met the media today to deliver his annual state of the team address. The owner talked about completing his first decade as owner, moving into a new decade overall, and reflected a bit on what had happened in the previous one. He said he felt that every goal had been completed except one. That is of course, winning a Superbowl.
The first question dealt with the possibility of expanding to an 18 game season, an idea which Lurie is clearly behind. He called it "embarrassing" that the league played as many preseason games as it does given how much fans dislike the long preseason. He echoed what Roger Goodell told us yesterday, that the #1 complaint he gets from fans is the long preseason. Honestly I wonder exactly how much fans worry about the length of the preseason, but one group that does complain about it quite a bit is season ticketholders who are forced to play full price for the sub par product.
The conversation quickly turned to Michael Vick... Lurie said he looked at three different questions to judge Vick's time as an Eagle. First, was he a good teammate? He's been "an extremely good teammate" Lurie said, adding that he'd spoken to many players over the last year who all held Vick in very high regard. Second, he asked whether Vick had been an agent for change in the community? Lurie said that Vick had been "the best" player in the community in their first year with the organization and talked about the countless times Vick had spoken with kids about his life and mistakes.
Finally, he said he needed to know if Vick was guilty of any "wrongdoing?" He explained that in his position he can only deal with facts. Four independent investigations were done on the birthday party incident(their own, the NFL, the Virginia police, & the probation office) and none found him guilty of any wrongdoing. Lurie admitted that Vick attending the party was "lapse in judgment" but in the absence of any "wrongdoing" it simply wouldn't be right to punish him. Lurie was quick to say that had even one of the investigations turned up any evidence of wrongdoing on Vick's part, there would have been zero tolerance and he would have been cut.
Reporters continued to ask question after question about Vick, but most were just variants of the same question and were met with variants of the same answer.
Moving on... he was asked about Donovan McNabb. He said that the team has always recognized the importance and value of the quarterback and it's always been their philosophy to develop young QBs even while they had a good QB in place. Whether those players turn into assets that can be traded(A.J. Feeley), become backups, or develop into starters there's value in having them. He said Andy felt the time was right to deal McNabb because the market value for McNabb was right and Kevin Kolb had matured to the point where he was ready to start. Lurie said they "got the value of a first round pick" for McNabb. He also said that he didn't see a dropoff between McNabb & Kolb.
He touched briefly on the CBA negotiations saying that he wasn't allowed tot discuss specifics, but that issues like rookie salaries, international investment, and funds for retired players were all topics that were being discussed. He also stressed the need for continued investment in technology and criticized soccer(he attended the world cup final BTW) for not using technology and letting down the fans by getting critical calls wrong.
He finished saying that his one remaining goal and sole obsession was to win a Superbowl.