Michael Vick came back from the bottom. That’s his real NFL legacy | DJ Gallo

Vick didnt become the player he threatened to be, and his dog-fighting activities deserve contempt. But he carried remorse, constructed no excuses, and seems to have turned their own lives around

Michael Vicks once-promising career as an NFL is likely over.

The No 1 overall pick in the 2001 draft is currently without a squad after ensure time in five games last year with the Steelers, his fourth NFL team. If his days are over, Vick says hes content with that.

Im 35, about to turn 36, he told the Daily Press of Hampton Roads, Virginia this weekend. Ive got one more dedicated season in my blood, if someone requires me to come in. But Im kind of happy where I am right now. Ive got my health, Ive got my kids, Ive got my family. The game has done so much for me in terms of relationships, opportunities to take care of myself and their own families. Im just thankful. I give all credit to God.

If Vick does ultimately land with a team in 2016, there wont be any league-wide farewell tour complete with pregame ceremonies, parting gifts and standing ovations. Because despite his immense talent, Vicks NFL career can only be characterized as a disappointment.

He had his moments , no doubt. There was the 2004 season, when he took the Falcons to the NFC Championship Game at age 24, and his remarkable 2010 campaign with Andy Reids Eagles when he put up career-best pas numbers and inspired all the Dream Team talk of 2011. Whenever his playing days officially aim, he will leave the NFL with the most rushing yards by a quarterback in the history of the game, more than 1,000 yards ahead of Randall Cunningham in second place. But so often, Vick played very much like running back miscast under center.

He had a cannon of an arm, but struggled with accuracy. He struggled even more with traumata and consistency. As his athleticism waned, he had little else to offer, as his ineffective and somewhat depressing stint with the Steelers last year proven.

Of course, all of this is without mentioning the two years he spent out of the NFL due to running a dog-fighting ring. Massive understatement alert: thats a blip on any resum. The stint in Leavenworth came in the prime of Vicks career, but he hadnt been playing great football leading up to his arrest and sentence. The Falcons were a combined 15 -1 7 in the two seasons before he went to prison with Vick failing to cracking 2,500 occur yards each year. While he always frightened defensive coordinators, the numbers depict most worked through their dreads enough to keep him in check quite nicely.

The Michael Vick Experience did not revolutionize the NFL. Hes far from a JaMarcus Russell or Tim Couch-type bust, but he never achieved close to what most hoped he would coming out of Virginia Tech. Vicks legacy will not be that of a great pro quarterback.

But his legacy doesnt have to be bad.

There is nothing positive to say about the actions that led Vick out of football and into prison. There is also nothing negative to say about how “hes having” managed himself since stepping out of jail after 538 days on May 21 2009.

Vick is a part of a league that, regrettably, routinely considers player names in the police blotter. Just this week in an interview with ESPN, absurdly claimed that he never put his hand on any woman in his entire life.

Back in October, Hardy whose accuser said he hurled her on a bed covered in handgun defined an all-time NFL record for lack of self-awareness( or for being an unabashed garbage human) by saying he was coming out guns flaming and then commenting on Tom Bradys wife.

Then theres former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. After being charged with doubled assassination in 2000, Lewis plead to a misdemeanor charge of blockage of justice and has spent all his energy off the field since then promoting himself as some sort of spiritual shaman of smashmouth football. Asked in an interview before the 2013 Super Bowl what he would say to the families of “the mens” killed in 2000, households who believe Lewis hasnt been forthcoming about what passed, Lewis said hed want them to know that God has never made a mistake. Its hard to make a comment much worse than that.

Well, maybe not too hard.

Contrast Hardy and Lewis with everything Vick has said and done since 2009. He has repeatedly expressed repentance. Hes induced no excuses. He worked with the Humane Society long after his prison sentence objective, including lobbying Congress to pass the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act. All without pay. The Humane Societys own website posted that: hes supportive of our Pets for Life program to end puppy fighting and helps spread the message through his public appearances.

In stops with the Eagles, Jets and Steelers, coach-and-fours and teammates have had nothing but positive things to say about him in the locker room. His signings with each squad were met with protests by fans, but he never lashed out at the hubbub or painted himself as a victim.

Theres no way we can know for sure if Vick had really changed or whats in his heart. Maybe its all a cynical, long con designed to produce articles like this and defined himself up for future endorsement and motivational speaker riches. But everything short of the ber-cynical standpoint suggests this new Mike Vick is real and sincere. You can still be disgusted and horrified by his past actions, while acknowledging that he paid his indebtednes to society and seems to have turned his life around.

Vick wont go down as an all-time great quarterback. He wasnt that good. But his legacy could be as the athlete other players will imitate when coming back from going bad.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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