Michael Vick, perhaps the most sought after prospect of the 2001 NFL Draft, played just two seasons for Virginia Tech, where he finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting his freshman year. In 2001, Vick became the first African American quarterback to ever be selected first overall in the NFL draft. Vick was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons, where he played for six seasons, and was selected to four pro bowl teams. Not only does he rank third in NFL history in career rushing yards, he also is the only quarterback to ever rush over 1,000 yards in one season (2006).
What most all people, sports and non-sports fans alike, tend to know the name “Michael Vick” for are the federal charges brought against him for hosting a dog fighting club called the Bad Newz Kennels. Though there was much controversy surrounding the investigation, Vick and three other men were indicted for allegations of Vick’s involvement in “dog fighting, high-stakes gambling, and brutal executions of dogs.” Though Vick continually stated that he was never at that house, and proof was eventually brought forth that he owns several homes in the surrounding area in order to help his family, he eventually admitted to his involvement and pleaded guilty in court. He was sentenced to twenty-three months in federal prison.
During his incarceration, the hype began to die down, animal rights activists slightly quieted, and everyone went on with their lives while Vick served his time. As soon as he was released, however, as if someone stirred up a beehive, the fervor was back. Vick was back on the grid and, of course, wanted to return to the game he loved. At first, it seemed as if it was not to be. Nearly as soon as he emerged, lawsuit after lawsuit were filed for various reasons against him. This left him virtually penniless, and he filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in 2008.
Who Wants Vick?
In the spring of 2009, Vick’s finances and debts seemed to finally be settled, and he looked to return to football that fall. Atlanta Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank, however, wanted nothing to do with him, as he found out in early 2008, just prior to his file for bankruptcy.
The question became: Who wants Vick? A man who just eight years before was the number one prospect in the nation, one that any NFL team would have snagged at the drop of the hat. When he announced his return, a proverbial awkward pause seemed to occur. Though there was no denying his talent, the question now became who wanted the “dog-fighter”.
The Eagles Do
Despite this, however, Vick was eventually offered a contract from the Philadelphia Eagles during Week 3 of the 2009 regular season. The move by the Eagles surprised many, though not all, as six-time Pro-Bowler Donovan McNabb seemed to be losing a step, regressing to his younger years of more interceptions and a lower passer rating. It was unknown how Vick would fit in the Eagles offense. He was tried out at receiver and running back positions, as well as at quarterback when the Eagles wanted to pull out a Wildcat formation. McNabb, however, was still elected to his sixth Pro-Bowl in 2009 and it looked as if Vick wouldn’t be starting anytime soon.
In an odd twist of events, however, McNabb was critcized as being “not serious enough” for the job. This was evidenced most by his apparent air guitar display upon emerging from the tunnel at the Dallas Cowboys stadium. In a move that resembled Brett Favre’s to Green Bay Packers’ rival, the Minnesota Vikings, the year before, McNabb was released from the Eagles and signed on with the division rival Washington Redskins.
To Vick’s chagrin, it was stated that Kevin Kolb would get the start for the Eagles in 2010, and, all through spring training and into the first game it looked to be that way. After Kolb suffered a concussion in the first game of the season, however, it was Michael Vick who got the nod to start Week 2, as the Eagles faced the Detroit Lions. Javhid Best scored three touchdowns for the Lions, but Michael Vick put on an all-star like performance to edge out the Lions 35-32.
After his first start since 2006, Vick shows no signs of stopping, as the 30 year old QB seems to have added McNabb-like qualities to his gameplay. Can he lead the team to the playoffs? Definitely. With a receiver like DeSean Jackson to throw to, only time will tell how many Vick-tories he’ll cash in on.
Associated Press, Game Recap, ESPN
Todd Kaufmann Michael Vick is Back, Bleacher Report
Clark Judge, Vick Quick to Click for Philly, CBS Sports
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