Vick’s aim? Only the greatest comeback story ever written

Michael Dwayne Vick doesn’t dream small. He didn’t just want to be a NFL quarterback; he wanted to be the greatest quarterback the league has ever seen and to revolutionize his sport in the process. He knows he has been blessed with a rare and perhaps unprecedented skill-set. Indeed, he said as much in his introduction as an Eagle on Friday.

In that briefing, Vick used the right words and struck the proper chords, which was hardly surprising. (No matter what his detractors might insist, he has always been an effective speaker.) He made his apologies in the requisite amounts, and the thought occurred — just as it did two years ago in the ballroom of the Omni Hotel in Richmond — that it’s difficult to consider him a bad guy if you’re ever around him.

But as I heard Vick’s words, I got the feeling that the notion of a grand design still simmers within. As he eases back into the NFL and public life, there’s a part of Michael Vick that’s thinking: I can write the greatest comeback story in the history of sports.

The off-the-cuff remark he made to David Squires of the Newport News Daily Press — “The first year will be about getting all the way in shape; the next year will be about being the face of the NFL for the next 10 years” — was a glimpse of that Michael Vick. He has been humbled, yes, but this is not a humble man. This is a man who continues to believe he has greatness within him.

This isn’t to say Vick will overstep. He has immense respect for Donovan McNabb, who long ago escorted Vick during a recruiting visit to Syracuse and who, along with Vick, made the NFC championship of Jan. 23, 2005, the first to feature two African-American starting quarterbacks. McNabb has dealt with his own issues, from boos on Draft Day to Rush Limbaugh to Terrell Owens, and has risen above all. There’s not a better man for Vick to have as his teammate.

The greater question, at least on the field, is the one we were pondering when last Vick played a game: How good a quarterback can he be? Does he run too much to win at the highest level year upon year? Does he complete enough passes? Is disciplined enough to stay in the pocket and devoted enough to become not just a talent but a honed talent?

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All I know is this: In the brief time Bobby Petrino had with Vick in the spring of 2007, the new coach was so taken with his quarterback he was telling people who worked at Falcons HQ the team was going to average 30 points a game. (And Petrino isn’t a man for idle words. Or, as we know, idle feet.)

None of us can know what is written on walls of Michael Vick’s heart — is he truly remorseful or just sorry he got caught? — but if he abides by the law and doesn’t dishonor his new employer that shouldn’t really matter. He’s no longer in federal custody. He’s a free man with a new job. He can’t change the past. He can only point toward the future, and if I know him at all I know he’s not thinking in bite-sized increments.

Michael Vick always wanted to be great. Having been brought low, he surely wants to become even greater. He wants to show the world. I’m thinking he just might.

72 comments Add your comment

NoVickNoProblem64

August 14th, 2009
5:22 pm

Great article, the problem for Vick is playing time. I don’t think that he will have a huge impact in the eagle offense. Hopefully he does well except for against the Falcons.

Dixie Normus

August 14th, 2009
5:23 pm

First… question that comes to mind is, how long have you been saving up these Vick stories Mark? You’re like a machine today.

Najeh Davenpoop

August 14th, 2009
5:34 pm

“No matter what his detractors might insist, he has always been an effective speaker.”

Really?

Ted Striker

August 14th, 2009
5:36 pm

Your thoughts are very similar to mine. I was thinking after he was signed…wouldn’t it be great to see him as comeback player of the year?

No athlete has ever fallen so far from grace; it only stands that no athlete has more room (and with a team like the Eagles) an opportunity to redeem himself.

It may not happen this year, or the next, but I’d like nothing more than to see Vick become one of the most respected players — among league players and personnel — in the NFL.

Najeh Davenpoop

August 14th, 2009
5:39 pm

Hypothetical question for all Falcons fans:

If Matt Ryan had suffered a season-ending injury last week, before Vick signed with the Eagles, would you have preferred the Falcons to sign Vick to a one-year deal knowing that Ryan would be the starter when he returned, or would you have rather seen Redman or Shockley start for the rest of the season?

Mark Bradley

August 14th, 2009
5:39 pm

In my view, yes, Najeh. And I’ve heard him in media settings quite a bit over the past eight years.

Powder Springs Jacket

August 14th, 2009
5:42 pm

Bradley, why haven’t you friended me on Facebook yet?

TylerWebb

August 14th, 2009
5:43 pm

He is a borderline retard and will run into legal trouble again.

Why he has so many mindless followers is beyond me.

Tina Ford

August 14th, 2009
5:46 pm

Respect?? How can anyone use that word in the same sentence with M.Vick’s name? How can someone redeem himself for showing his true colors, which are a sick human who enjoys watchig and torturing animals..I wish all the Philadelphia Eagle fans could spend soem of the time they use watching a game to volunteer at an animal shelter or homeless shelter…THAT WOULKD BE A STORY WORTH COVERING!! NOT a low life like M. Vick

Jim

August 14th, 2009
5:49 pm

Hope the best will come out of this for Vick. He did something terrible but he has paid his debt to society. He just needs to go out and play football and stay out of trouble. Just heard that the first offer he got was from the Bengals! Can you imagine the heat that would have been on him with that team of thugs? Tony Dungey gave him some solid advice.

Ted Striker

August 14th, 2009
6:06 pm

Tina:

Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t history chronicle a rather nasty fellow named Saul who hunted down numerous innocent people — causing their death — before he saw the error of his ways and became fairly well respected as the Apostle Paul?

I’m not saying Mike Vick is the Apostle Paul but he ain’t the devil in disguise either.

One man’s opinion,

Teddy Striker, US Department of B.S. (Active Duty)

southgadawg88

August 14th, 2009
6:13 pm

Well Mark you seem to have a soft spot for the kid…I hope it works out for him..I would rather not have to go thru this guy to get to the superbowl though.Question…does this make the eagles the best team in the NFC?

James

August 14th, 2009
6:16 pm

when I think of a comeback story, I think of someone who came back from a bad injury or losing streak — like a Rocky movie. Not a criminal animal abuser. First bad move was by the NFL reinstating, 2nd bad move by the Eagles for signing him and paying that amount of money. He should never be awarded that kind of money. What he needs is this – http://my.arfie.com/video/arfie-cans-vick

Ted Striker

August 14th, 2009
6:25 pm

Najeh: I wouldn’t want Vick in uniform here, even if Ryan got hit a MARTA bus — or, say Grady Jackson in the pre-season opener — about the same thing. Vick needs space and distance from Atlanta and the scrutiny here. He’ll have scrutiny anywhere but not like he would in ATL.

Secondly, although some people understand it’s possible to support Ryan as Quarterback and simultaneously hope Vick does well — some don’t.

Some people wouldn’t change their opinion on him even if he gave a kidney to save the life of the Pope, and then hustled 11 orphans out of a burning schoolhouse.

Falcons Obit

August 14th, 2009
7:03 pm

Najeh, I agree with MB…”effective” does not have to be necessarily “eloquent”. Its just if the person is really able to get their point across.

mike

August 14th, 2009
7:46 pm

I think it’s great. I can’t believe I’m seeing so many positive comments about Vick on this blog. Usually, if Vick is mentioned, it’s full of argument. I wish the Falcons had retained him as a back up or position player, while assuring Matt Ryan that he was the #1 quarterback. Now that Vick is gone, I hope he is successful.

Go Falcons. Go Michael Vick.

kj

August 14th, 2009
7:55 pm

I think Vick will be fine. good piece MB. Najeh I gotta tell you as much as I appreciated what MV7 brought to the table I would rather never to see him in a falcon uniform again. I think redmon is more tahn capable of guiding the ship, theorectically. Ted I agree with you completely, some people are soo passionate about their beliefs they tend to turn a blind eye to the forgiveness and redemption factor. Either way its going to make for some good drama this year. Especially if something unfortunate happens to Mcnabb this year. He is known for missing a game or two late in the season you know

Boggs

August 14th, 2009
8:26 pm

All the time he was locked up (Who knows how hard the hard time really was?), I was thinking what a comeback story! However, the best come back stories are never straight ahead. With a little downer after some uppers, it’ll be WHO LET THE DOGS OUT! The dogs in this case are not literal.

As an example of a downer: He is practicing with McNabb all season and getting better and being COOL. Late season game means playoffs with a WIN. McNabb has the Eagles well ahead maybe by two touchdowns. McNabb gets a nick, a small injury he could play with but decides to let VICK in. Eagles LOSE. Not really Michael’s fault (as I write this future fiction), but everyone sees it as his fault because even as a comeback backup people will expect SUPERMAN. And, he goes right back to coach killer, dog killer, (and worse) game killer in the PR department. That’s how delicate this can be.

But it will be a story. But it shouldn’t be written until it really has been concluded. Ups and DOWNs

FALCONS SORRY

August 14th, 2009
9:05 pm

MARK BRADLY! NOW THAT IS WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT! THE GREATEST COMEBACK STORY THAT HAS EVER BEEN WRITTEN IS BEING WRITTEN WRITE NOW AS WE SPEAK BY MIKE VICK THE GREATEST QUARTERBACK IN THE WHOLE HISTORY OF THE NFL AND THE MOST PERSECUTED MAN IN THE HISTORY OF THE PLANET! NO BODY SINCE THE CROSS HAS BEEN MISTREATED THE WAY VICK HAS! NO BODY HAS EVEN BEEN THE VICTIM OF SO MUCH HATE FOR NO REASON THE WAY THIS MAN HAS! YOU HATERS HAVE THROWN EVERTHING YOU CAN AT HIM BUT HE IS STILL STANDING! HE IS STILL STRONG! HE IS STILL THE MAN! YOU HATERS ONLY MAKE HIM STRONGER! A FEW MONTH AGO THE HATERS HAD HIM IN SHACKELS AND CHAINS BUT NOW HE FREE AND RUNNING STRONG! IN A FEW MONTHS THE SAME SORRY STUPID PEOPLE THAT THREW HIM IN JAIL FOR NO REASON WILL BE KISSING HIS SUPPER BOWL RING IN MIAMI WITH THE PHILADELPHIA EAGELS NOT THE SORRY ATL FALCONS OWNED BY THAT LOW DOWN SORRY AUTHUR BLANK THAT CAUSED VICK TO GET PUT IN JAIL FOR SORRY WORTHLESS DOGS IN THE FIRST PLACE! TRY NOT TO KILL YOUR SELF FOR THE SORRY STUPID THING YOU HAVE DONE BY BETRAYING THE SON YOU WISH YOU HAD AND THE PERSON WHO MADE YOU RICH IN THE FIRST PLACE! VICK GAVE YOU YOUR RICHES AND NOW HE IS GOING TO TAKE THEM BACK FROM BACK STABBER BLANK!

falconman

August 14th, 2009
9:07 pm

I think he will be a great player. He always has been.

PETA Watcher

August 14th, 2009
9:09 pm

I did not know that Michael Strahan (NY Giants) was a PETA member??

http://www.activistcash.com/biography.cfm/bid/3288

wxwax

August 14th, 2009
9:16 pm

Vick was extremely unconvincing in his last presser before going to prison. His words of contrition rang hollow. Not at all believable. Scripted, rehearsed, tinny.

Today? Completely different. He’s changed.

Dan

August 14th, 2009
9:29 pm

Unless he refined his passing skills in lockdown hard to see how a player who based his game on being the quickest man on the field is going to be anything other than a situational player as that quickness fades with age while his arm + discipline in the pocket presumably remain as scattershot as ever.

Leaving moral posturing aside (it’s a business – NFL teams would sign Charles Manson if he helped them win) putting Vick with an emotionally fragile McNabb and the Eagles fan base is a recipe for an entertaining blowup but not a championship

suzangrace

August 14th, 2009
9:55 pm

michael vick is a pig and his signing will only make me dislike the eagles even more than i already do. vick was a superstar in atlanta, and he was a marginal quarterback…incredibily over-rated. look at the record the falcons have had. he should not be allowed to play again in the nfl.

Marcus

August 14th, 2009
10:28 pm

Ted Striker,
the saddest commentary is that your 6:25 pm post is probably true. Folks can’t forgive.
Even if Vick isn’t successful, and he jaywalks and voids his parole, all that proves is that he is human. On a daily basis, between our wives, kids, co-workers, supervisors, friends, etc. all of us mess up in some way, either by offending (by words or actions) or worse … and we hope for some form of forgiveness on some level. Vick has payed his debt to society and now has a chance at redemption, which some folks do not want to give.
What would we do if someone never gave us an opportunity for amends after we mess up?

harold england

August 14th, 2009
10:36 pm

i am a 60 year old white male,just so you know,and i think i have never seen a more sever punishment for a crime of this sort.i dont mean his punishment was to sever so far because what he did deserved what he has received.BUT I THINK ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.until he gives us reason to doubt him again he deserves our support and for pita to leave him along.

realist

August 14th, 2009
10:39 pm

Hey, Falcon Sorry did you just lose your gold tooth?

Ted Striker

August 14th, 2009
10:49 pm

Marcus: The incredible thing about life is this: No matter what anyone thinks about a person — whether they are Mike Vick or anyone else — if an individual comes to grips with errors in their past and purposes oneself not to repeat them — he/she can ultimately begin a pattern of doing right.

The most compelling part of Vick’s statements (to me) were in regards to his family where he expressed extreme remorse for letting down the people who loved him. Which leads me to say this.

I don’t believe it maters if the entire world is against you (and a lot of people are actually pulling for Vick although some expect him to fail) as long as you do everything in your power to do right, especially by the people you love and you bring no harm to others.

I may be naive but I believe some people emerge from difficult circumstances — even those caused by themselves — as better people.

Tony Wade

August 14th, 2009
10:54 pm

Kudos Eagles! If you dislike Vick for his crime that fair, but you’re crazy if you think that Vick can’t help Philly. Boo him if that will make you feel better. I suggest milk, cookies, and your favorite blanket.

Spencer Hanley

August 14th, 2009
11:02 pm

Mike Vick is arguably the most exciting player to ever touch a football, however he has not developed into a great quaterback. Being exciting and acutally quarterbacking are total different things. Hopefully he will learn something under the Donavan McNabb. My hope is that Vick becomes a student of the game, watch video… video… then more video, becomes a more acurate passer, learn to read a defence, check down his receivers and use his feet LAST!!! Do that and over the next two years, he might even get some PETA fans.
That being said, let’s get on PETA for a second. Where is your capacity for forgiveness? Just because someone doesn’t have your PERFECT love for animals makes him one thing… HUMAN. Where is the imperfection in your own lives or will you continue to stay on your high perch overlooking the rest of society. Yes, the rest of us that just happens to think, “it was an animal, not a human!”

test

August 14th, 2009
11:44 pm

testing to see if this works

Notty Dred

August 15th, 2009
12:45 am

Tom Brady is the best QUARTERBACK in football. Hell, he’s on chip away from being arguably the best to have done it. With that said, Mike Vick is the best FOOTBALL player (atleast before he was incarcerated). With McNabb and Andy Reid working with him, not forcing him to perform early Vick WILL attain better quarterbacking skills which will make him an even better FOOTBALL player. With patience and proper decision making Vick could have a very bright future. God bless him, you and America (the land of opportunity and second chances..?) We’ll see.
I love you all…hater or supporter.

http://www.2livestews.com http://www.790thezone.com http://www.sportingnewsradio.com

Whopper Dawg

August 15th, 2009
12:57 am

FALCONS SORRY -

Your intellect and obvious eduction is surpassed only by Vick’s ability to read defenses. LOL in your life. Please stay out of my neighborhood, which by the way, has very quick police response times.

- MARK BRADLY!
- BEING WRITTEN WRITE NOW
- BUT NOW HE FREE AND RUNNING STRONG!
- NO BODY SINCE THE CROSS
- WILL BE KISSING HIS SUPPER BOWL RING

Whopper

Rogeriter

August 15th, 2009
5:13 am

Greatest comeback ever? Surely you jest! If Vick comes back, he is coming back from a prison sentence caused by his stupidity and uncaring attitude. I hope he makes it back, but don’t compare his comeback with that of, say, Ben Hogan who came back from near death of a car wreck which nearly killed him, to win many major championships despite unbearable pain. Or Grover Cleveland Alexander, who lost a leg and fought back to play in the major leagues again. There are many other inspiring sports stories comebacks. But Michael Vick’s isn’t one of the great ones! He is a criminal who had enough talent that people ignored his criminality. Nothing more!!!

Vick's Vapor Rub

August 15th, 2009
6:56 am

Rogeriter is a sissy

BMWe46Mdriver

August 15th, 2009
6:57 am

@ FALCONS SORRY – It’s apparent that you will never stop posting your grammatical error filled blogs. Have you ever thought about proofreading them? There is a program called MS Word that you can use to type your blogs on. The majority of the time this program will capture your run-on sentences, sentence fragments and misspelled words. You should try it sometime.

Frankly

August 15th, 2009
7:02 am

Vick is very popular in the press right now, they know how exciting a player he is.

Dolemite

August 15th, 2009
7:04 am

Vick came back to town in December to play the game, wearing $300 pit bull-skin slippers, a $1000 pimpin’ and hustlin’ suit, $250 stingy-brim hat…and fightin’ mongrels was his middle name. He said “I’m Vick! A 5-foot 10-inch piece of leather well put together, and I know that you know that I can fight a dawg in any kinda weather”! I ain’t lyin’ a pound.
*footnote: (0 – 7 in seven 100-yard rushing games in 2006)

Eddy

August 15th, 2009
7:12 am

Redemption is possible BUt It is not going to take place on the football field. Contrition, remorse and redemption are analogous to the 12Step Process for AA….each day is its own goal. So we’ll see….no posse, no visiting the clubs in the wee hours of the morning, etc. His true character will be revealed…..just give it time. BTW….I am pulling for him to make it and live his new life.Trying for a comeback in football is the least of his issues. What does he do with the rest of his life after football? That will be the real measure of whether or not he has truly changed or is his repentance just a convenient way to get back onto the field? We’ll see……

Kudzu

August 15th, 2009
7:25 am

Appropriate town and team for MV7. Philadelphia sucks! The fans there are idiots…and there will be ample opportunities for this self serving clown to (fall) again, Watch and see…I am reluctant to get on board when I here playas talk of themselves and their “god given ability” Vomit right here. Vick needs to stay to he** away from the mdeia frenzy limelight circles… just go to work, then go home, then talk to Dungy, then go to work again…LAY LOW, I’m a doubter, he’s ignorant.

Faithful Falcon fans should leave this person in Philly…Please Atlanta media…NO more Vick articles.

Mitch C

August 15th, 2009
7:28 am

I’m admittedly not a football fan, but I do live not far from Philly. I am an animal lover, though, and quite frankly, I think what Michael Vick did should have gotten him banned for life, or certainly, for a long period of time.

Yes, Vick did his time in jail, but how is it that just a few short weeks after emerging from a long jail term, this guy will have tens of thousands of fans cheering him every Sunday? In addition to the time he served, I would have banned him for the entire upcoming season. Think of it, guys are banned for putting white powdery substances up their noses, and such, but we can cheer them just days and weeks after they emerge from a cell for abusing dogs? This is justice? Oh, and Mark, just so you know I’m not a hypocrite, I would say the same thing if it was one of the star players on the Braves who had done what Michael Vick did.

The reaction I heard on TV from fans in Philly seemed to have been mixed. You will have some people who are happy he’s back because he plays football well, and others who will hate it, because they hate what he did to animals.

It will be interesting to see what happens with Vick henceforth.

Mitch

"Chef" Tim Dix

August 15th, 2009
7:35 am

And everyone lived happily ever after…Except his herpes receipiant and the dogs he killed.

sharecropper

August 15th, 2009
7:40 am

Look, I hope Vick can make it back and have a decent career. Mainly because his creditors need that. I always thought he was a terrific athlete, although not a particularly good professional QB — he has the wrong game for the game at that position — and he may get a chance now to play what he should have been playing, a hybrid wideout. But we all know it is but a matter of time before Michael Vick goes postal on us again. And what I would really like to know is not being reported: has he shed himself of the posse that enabled him in his dog fighting days? I didn’t think so. Keep the cuffs handy.

greg

August 15th, 2009
7:59 am

Not at quarterback. Doesn’t have the touch and is not smart enough.

Conservative White Male

August 15th, 2009
8:19 am

Vick is a idiot just like the rest of his culture. people act suprised when these people committ crimes, look at his hair and earrings. he is not soory about the dogs he killed, he is sorry he got caught. and liberal panty wastes like goodell fall for this im sorry bs hook line and sinker.
on the other hand if goodell suspended hom for life like he should have, al and jesse will cry racism and then protest the nfl and extort them for money, thats the way they operate.

They hold good people hostage with the race card.

Vick will flop this time around just like he did the first time, no superbowl rings and below average stats for a qb. I guess we got affirmitave action in sports now too.

We should be glad to have a man like Matty-Ice o our team he is pure and intelligent enough to read a defense or memorize a playbook, something vick could not do. can he even read, we know they push minority athletes through college in order to play sports.
vick is welfare trash who happens to run fast, but h still has his criminal genetics. just watch he will do something before the end of they year. weather it is speeding or driving without a seat belt he will break the law

Navigator

August 15th, 2009
8:43 am

Bradley, you’ve taken sports writing to an absolute low. To compare a criminal’s activity (prison) to comeback and make a big pay check as the biggest comeback ever is worst than disgusting. Do you know anything about Ben Hogan (he and his wife almost killed in a head on collision) who was said never to walk again, only to not only walk but win major golf championships. Are you kidding me or is your history of sports only what you see on TV.

UGASlobberknocker aint no Frank Wren

August 15th, 2009
8:52 am

Mike Vick’s punishment was way to severe for his crime. Stallworth kills somebody and he gets 30 days. Ray Lewis was an accessory to murder, yet never served a day in jail. Vick shoots a couple of dogs and gets 2 years? That was wrong, but 2 freakin years?!!!.

I hope he comes back and tears it up. And although I am a white guy (and lets face it this Vick question is in large part about skin color), I believe he was severely wronged by a corrupt Justice system. I dont want him back in Atlanta; he is too divisive and now we have a great QB, but I am hopeful he is very successful in his comeback..at least enough to pay off his debts and become financially secure again.

Sid

August 15th, 2009
8:55 am

I am not even going to read your article, what BS it must be. MLK said something about judging a man by the content of his character, only time will reveal the truth. But to be the “greatest comeback story ever written” he would have had to have less than $1,000,000 in his bank account. Hence, he doesn’t qualify. Is this orchestrated appearance in Decatur supposed to be the beginning of his altruistic ways, show me something Michael, you haven’t done a thing. And do it yourself, quit having your handlers write a script.

Navigator

August 15th, 2009
8:59 am

UGA Slobberknocker aint no Frank Wren: I agree with Stallworth’s punishment beubg way too lenient, but you don’t have the facts on why Vick was prosecuted and went to Federal prison. He was convicted of running a cross state dog fighting and gambling ring, not killing a couple of dogs. You see the press has white washed this situation as so much, that in our time reporting is not factual, so if you still think MVick was jailed because of skin color then do, it’s you’re prerogative.

ajw

August 15th, 2009
9:22 am

Sunday December 6th – Eagles at Falcons

This is going to be a huge game.