Overtime: “Michael Vick, Lucky Lefty”

By Melva N. Lloyd

58106390This Sunday, Michael Vick returns to the football field for a regular season game when the Philadelphia Eagles take on the Kansas City Chiefs.  Although he won’t be a starter, his presence and undeniable skill will only had more fuel to the Eagles’ championship bound fire.  And with Donovan McNabb’s pre-season injury that will have on the bench for much of the season, Vick finally has his chance at redemption.

Before Michael Vick served twenty-three months in prison stemming from dog fighting charges, he was the first overall pick in the 2001 draft; signing a contract with the Atlanta Falcons, a career move that would result in the most rushing yards by a quarterback in a single season (1,039 in 2006) and eight 100-yard career rushing games – both being league records.  Vick would become a candidate for his first MVP award during his rookie season and a starter by the time he was twenty-two.  After three Pro Bowl appearances and endorsements with Nike, EASports, Powerade and Kraft, Forbes Magazine would rank him 33 among their Top 100 Celebrities in 2005.  But not even those accomplishments would prepare him for the legal fight of this life. 

2007 would start with a league suspension for the Virginia Tech alum after he pled guilty to federal charges that accused him of animal cruelty and running dog fighting rings in his native Newport News, Virginia.  Stripped of his eagles 24 0827 sdsmulti-million dollar contract with the Falcons and numerous endorsements deals, Vick was forced to watch any type of national football game from behind bars.  When he was released from federal prison in July of this year, he was placed on house arrest and left to wonder if any team would want to pick up a former star with a record. 

Luckily for Vick, the Philadelphia Eagles were willing to take that chance.  Amidst controversy and angry fans who felt that Vick should never be allowed to play professional football again, the quarterback signed a one-year contract with the Eagles for $1.6 million on August 13, 2009.  The contract provides the option for Vick to re-sign with the team for the 2010 season, worth $5 million. 

No matter how you look at it, Michael Vick will always be known as a troubled athlete who trusted the wrong people; ultimately halting his record shattering career.  But with the past finally behind him, or so he hopes, he has the opportunity to prove the critics wrong and move on with the talent that brought him so much fame and fortune.

 Images courtesy of: www.blog.pennlive.com


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