By Kian Mirkia
Michael Vick is a name surrounded by notoriety, talent, and hardships. Michael Vick was a quarterback in the National Football League (NFL) from 2001 through 2015 with a 2-year hiatus from 2007-2008. At the time of his departure, Michael Vick was one of the most talented, game-changing talents in the league, making the Pro Bowl on 3 years and leading his team to multiple playoff appearances. However, with his success, the former number 1 overall pick had dark secrets that would forever haunt his name. After law enforcement pursued the Bad News Kennels dog fighting investigation, it was uncovered that Vick owned and was associated with a property that was linked to dogfighting. Understandably, this horrific event stained his life and career as he was suspended from the NFL and had to serve jail time. According to Super Bowl-winning head coach and Vick’s mentor, Tony Dungy, during Vick’s time in jail he had not only not played football, but also hadn’t worked out. At this point in Vick’s life, the odds were far from in his favor- his public image was deteriorated, he wasn’t in football shape, and he had to make up for his actions.
However, Vick changed all of that by attempting to come back to the NFL. He eventually got that opportunity when the Philadelphia Eagles signed him to be the backup quarterback to Donavan McNabb. That first year he was a backup was when we first saw change happen. Vick began doing charity work in part with Humane Society and also went to many schools and talked to kids about his mistakes. His remorse made it clear that his former actions did not reflect who he was anymore. From there, he began to gain respect from his teammates and the public. This was exemplified when his teammates unanimously voted him to win the Ed Block Courage Award, an award given to the player who best showcases inspiration, sportsmanship, and courage.
With the help of Tony Dungy and others, he relentlessly worked in the offseason to regain his old form. In 2010, after Eagles starting quarterback Kevin Kolb went down with an injury, Vick had his chance to shine. Paired with coaching mogul Andy Reid, Vick led his team to a 10-6 record and a playoff appearance. For his performance during the season, Vick was awarded another appearance to the Pro Bowl and was named as the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year. Overall, Vick’s story showcases how far hard work can go and he gives us all hope in second chances.