PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Michael Vick can throw passes to his teammates instead of ball boys.
The Philadelphia Eagles elevated Vick to the team's 53-man roster Tuesday, a move that allows the quarterback to practice with the team.
Wide receiver Hank Baskett was released to make room for Vick, who is eligible to play Sept. 27 against the Kansas City Chiefs. Vick will begin practicing with the team Wednesday, though he cannot play in Sunday's home opener against the New Orleans Saints. Vick was suspended for the first two regular-season games as the final league penalty for his role in running a dogfighting ring.
Kevin Kolb is expected to take the snaps with the starters Wednesday because Donovan McNabb has a cracked rib. Jeff Garcia was signed to back up Kolb in case McNabb can't play.
Vick was brought in to give the Eagles another dimension on offense. He ran Philadelphia's version of the wildcat offense and took some snaps as a traditional QB under center in two preseason games.
The Eagles were heavily criticized by animal rights activists for signing Vick less than a month after he finished serving 18 months in federal prison. Dozens of protesters voiced their outrage outside the team's practice facility the day after Vick was signed, and many fans threatened to give up their tickets.
A month later, Vick's jersey is the fourth-highest seller in the NFL behind Brett Favre, Jay Cutler and Troy Polamalu. The league rankings are based on the sales period from April 1 to Aug. 28, so Vick - and Favre, for that matter - had plenty of catching up to do since both joined their teams last month.
Vick hasn't played in a regular-season game since Dec. 31, 2006, when he was with the Atlanta Falcons. It's highly unlikely he would have started even if he were eligible to play this week. Eagles coach Andy Reid has maintained all along that Kolb is McNabb's backup.
Baskett was one of seven receivers the Eagles carried on their 53-man roster through Week 1. He became expendable after Philadelphia selected Jeremy Maclin in the first round of April's draft and added Brandon Gibson in the sixth round.
Baskett had 72 catches for 1,052 yards and six touchdowns in 48 games with the Eagles.