By Michael Cunningham
Michael Vick once energized the Falcons fanbase while winning big games. His success in Atlanta and the notorious circumstances of his departure mean he’s always going to be part of the story when his Eagles team plays the Falcons.
But Vick vs. the Falcons has become more of a footnote with each passing season since Vick last played for Atlanta in 2006. Now it’s more about the Falcons vs. the Eagles.
“Having played against the Eagles [with Vick] so many times, I don’t think it’s something the guys in here talk about or even think about that all that much,” Matt Ryan said today. “There’s probably only a handful of guys left that played with Mike. I think we are probably a little bit beyond that at this point, five years removed.”
Roddy White is one of five current Falcons to play with Vick along with Todd McClure,
White agreed that the Vick era is solidly in the past now.
“We play each other so much over the past four or five years we’ve gotten past that point now,” White said. “It’s just us against them. Whoever comes out with the win, wins.”
White, who famously earned a fine for flashing a T-shirt supportive of Vick after scoring a touchdown, said he’s still close with Vick. The two have traded playful text messages this week.
“He just asked me to drop a couple balls in the game,” White said. “I tell him I will try to drop them in the offseason. Other than that, we’ve just been kind of texting back and forth. I asked him to throw us like three picks. That would be nice. We just laugh and joke around about things like that. We are both players that want to go out there and excel and get wins.”
Vick’s time with the Falcons ended in disgrace after he pleaded guilty to felony charges for his role in a dog fighting operation at a property owned by him in Virginia. Vick served 19 months in prison. The Falcons released Vick when he was still under house arrest in June 2009.
White said he believes that with the passage of time people are able to appreciate what Vick did for the Falcons franchise in spite of how his tenure ended.
“I think he did a lot of good things when he was here,” White said. “He excited the city. That was the main focus. And he won a lot of games. He won some playoff games, too. We are under a new regime now with coach Mike Smith. Matt is here, and Matt is winning a lot of games. Matt has taken over and kind of ran with it and made that city get that spark again that we had when we had Mike. We are rolling right now and we’ve got to continue to go out there and find ways to win.”