PHILADELPHIA — LeSean McCoy expects to step right into his starting role. Michael Vick has no choice but to stand on the sideline.
Vick and McCoy returned to practice Tuesday after missing several weeks with concussions, and both players could be active when the Philadelphia Eagles host Cincinnati on Thursday night.
In McCoy's case, he's still the No. 1 running back. Vick, however, lost his starting job to rookie quarterback Nick Foles.
If I was back, I'd be playing, McCoy said after practice.
Vick and McCoy still must be cleared by an independent neurologist and the team doctor before playing in a game. Vick, who was injured on Nov. 11, has missed four straight games. McCoy got hurt the following week at Washington.
We're not listing them as out, head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder said. They're still very much alive for things and we'll see how they do and take it day by day.
The Eagles (4-9) have been eliminated from playoff contention and are reduced to playing spoiler. Their record factored into coach Andy Reid's decision to go with Foles.
This will be another challenge for him doing it on a short week, Reid said. I know he was here late last night going over stuff and I'm sure it'll be the same tonight. It's one more step. Let's see how he does with it.
Rookie Bryce Brown, a seventh-round pick, filled in nicely for McCoy. He had 347 yards rushing in his first two starts before getting held to just 6 yards on 12 carries against Tampa Bay's top-ranked run defense.
Vick hasn't talked to reporters since Reid said Foles would start the rest of the season. His demotion hasn't affected his communication with Foles.
There's no awkwardness, Foles said. Our relationship has stayed the same. I'll always support Mike and I know he'll always support me no matter what. Our relationship will stay the same.
Foles has leaned on Vick and veteran Trent Edwards for advice since the start of training camp. The third-round pick is coming off an impressive performance against Tampa Bay, leading the Eagles to a comeback win with a TD pass on the final play to snap an eight-game losing streak.
Both of them played as rookies so I always ask them what it was like for them and how they went about their business, he said. That's been huge for me just to pick their brains because I want to know. I'm a rookie. I have a lot to learn from these veterans. They've been there, done it and the more I can learn from them the more I can put myself in a situation where I can understand what they went through and hopefully I'll go about it the right way.
Tight end Brent Celek won't play against the Bengals (7-6) because of a concussion he sustained on the first play in a 23-21 win over Tampa Bay. Burkholder said Celek already has passed his ImPACT test, but won't be able to complete the team's five-stage recovery process in time.
Defensive tackle Mike Patterson also won't play because of a viral pneumonia that hospitalized him late last week. Patterson is recovering at home.
Bengals at Eagles
TV: 8:20 p.m., NFL Network
Last meeting: Teams tied, 13-13 on Nov. 16, 2008.