Michael Vick entered the National Football League with a lot of fanfare as the number #1 pick in the 2001 Draft. He exited with a comment to ESPN columnist, Josina Anderson, where he stated, “I’m willing to say yeah, I’m officially retired.”
While this is not exactly the glorious departure that people envisioned in 2001, this is a still a career worth taking a look at and maybe even asking the Hall of Fame question.
Drafted out of Virginia Tech, Vick would become the Falcon’s permanent starter in his sophomore year. The Quarterback would dazzle the fans of the NFL with arm and his legs and would be named to his first Pro Bowl. Vick would become a bona fide star in the National Football League and one of the most recognized players in football.
The Falcons were a good team, but not one that was built to go deep into the playoffs. That being said, the dual threat of Michael Vick terrorized opposing Defensive Coordinators and made planning against Atlanta a very interesting proposition. He would be with Atlanta for four more seasons until 2006 and would go to two more Pro Bowls. Notably, in ’06, he would become the first Quarterback to rush for over 1,000 Yards.
While 2006 would be a great year, the following two would not be as he would be sentenced for promoting a dog fighting ring that would land him in jail. He would be suspended from the NFL and missed two years form the game and it was uncertain whether he could ever be a football player at an elite level, let alone the star that he was.
As he was released by the Falcons, Vick was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles, predominantly because of the mentorship of Tony Dungy. Serving as the backup to Donovan McNabb, Vick paid his penance and was named by his teammates as the nominee for the Ed Block Courage Award. The following season, Vick took over as Philadelphia’s starting QB and was named to his fourth Pro Bowl and the NFL Comeback Player of the Year.
That would be Vick’s last great season, though he would remain in the NFL with the Eagles for three more seasons and would play with the New York Jets and the Pittsburgh Steelers before playing his last game in 2015.
With this now acknowledged retirement, Michael Vick will be eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2021, an institution that Vick feels he belongs in based on how “he changed the game”.
While he did usher in an era of more mobile Quarterbacks, a place in Canton might be hard to envision.
Regardless, we know we aren’t the only ones who were entertained by watching him play and we wish him the best in the next stage of his life.