PHILADELPHIA — Michael Vick leads Pro Bowl voting 1½ years after he was released from prison.
The Eagles quarterback had 729,838 fan votes, nearly 39,000 more than second-place Peyton Manning, the NFL said Wednesday. Manning topped the balloting two weeks ago.
"I think it's just a credit to everything I've tried to accomplish on and off the field, just working as hard as I can to change things around, be a part of the solution and not the problem," Vick said. "I changed my life, and it just goes to show anybody can do it. It's an unfortunate situation, the things that happened, I wish I could go back and change it all. I wish I could take it all back. The only thing I can do is move forward."
It's the latest evidence that many fans seem willing to forgive Vick for the dogfighting operation that sent him to prison for 18 months and embrace his return to NFL stardom. A backup to start the season, Vick has led the Eagles to first place in the NFC East, accounting for 21 touchdowns and throwing two interceptions.
"I appreciate my fans, man," Vick said. "Couldn't do it without them. Been very supportive over the last three years. What more can you ask for?"
Manning had 691,146 votes, which led the AFC, followed by Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (623,074), Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (591,598) and Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (547,340).
Online voting ends Dec. 20; go to nfl.com/probowl.
The teams are picked by a vote combination from fans, players and coaches.
thanks for the heads-up: As Panthers owner Jerry Richardson ended his silence by apologizing for a losing season, the disconnect showed when coach John Fox was asked Wednesday about the letter sent to permanent seat license holders. "I have no idea what you're talking about," said Fox, who is in the last year of his deal and not expected to return.
Richardson didn't directly address Fox's status in a letter sent to PSL owners: "I know how difficult the season has been for you. As the person ultimately responsible for putting a team on the field, I take full responsibility for our shortfalls. It is agonizing that we have not performed at the level we had planned for and expected."
favre update: Vikings quarterback Brett Favre's sprained throwing shoulder makes it difficult for him to put on a shirt or pull on his socks, leaving his record of 297 consecutive regular-season starts in jeopardy. Also, the NFL finished its investigation into allegations that Favre sent inappropriate phone messages and photos to Jets game hostess Jenn Sterger two years ago, and a decision could occur this week. Favre has declined to address the allegations.
chargers: The team told Mayor Jerry Sanders it will not exercise its 2011 escape clause and will play in San Diego in 2011. The announcement came amid speculation that the team could be headed to Los Angeles.
chiefs: Quarterback Matt Cassel had an appendectomy and his status is unclear for Sunday's game. The standard advice after a minimally invasive appendectomy is to avoid lifting and strenuous activity for three to five days. Brodie Croyle, who is 0-9 as a starter and has not played this season, took most of the practice snaps Wednesday, and quarterback Tyler Palko was signed from the practice squad.
Colts: Safety Bob Sanders (torn right biceps) is out for the season.
dolphins: Quarterback Chad Pennington, 34, is scheduled for a fourth surgery on his right shoulder Friday, and he says it's 50-50 whether he'll retire. The two-time comeback player of the year is confident he can fully recover, but given the shoulder's wear and tear, is unsure about trying to play again.
Lions: Two starters are lost for the season: defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch (neck) and cornerback Alphonso Smith (dislocated right shoulder). The team visits the Bucs on Dec. 19. Also, running back Kevin Smith, a former UCF standout who was on injured reserve with a thumb injury, had right shoulder surgery Monday.
packers: Left tackle Chad Clifton (concussion) and cornerback Charles Woodson, who sprained an ankle in practice, might not play Sunday.