In the not too distant past, Michael Vick was the face of the Atlanta Falcons and arguably the most exciting player in the league due to his unique physical ability to be a game-changing player with both his arm and legs. The former Virginia Tech product helped make the Falcons one of the most enticing teams in the NFL. He made eye-popping plays look normal, and he was one of the most difficult players for an opposing defense to game plan against.
What made Vick most effective during his tenure with Atlanta was being an elusive runner when he decided to scramble, which only added more effectiveness to his speed and quickness. It comes as no surprise that he became the first quarterback in league history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a single season, including more than 750 rushing yards three times.
However, all of this came to an end as Vick became involved in a dog fighting scandal that saw him get jail time and miss two complete seasons during the prime of his career. He got a second chance with the Philadelphia Eagles, making two playoff appearances and posting the first two 3,000-passing-yard campaigns of his career.
Vick had the most productive season of his career in 2010, earning his fourth Pro Bowl selection and AP NFL Comeback Player of the Year by posting career highs in touchdowns (21) and passer rating (100.2) while rushing for 676 yards and nine touchdowns. Things took a progressive tumble over the next few seasons, though, due to injuries and inconsistent play.
He signed with the New York Jets and eventually the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he was relegated to a backup role in both situations. Vick did have another opportunity to start in 2015 with the Steelers — when Ben Roethlisberger suffered a knee injury — making three starts in his place before a hamstring injury against the Arizona Cardinals forced him to miss the remainder of the season. This led many to believe that his playing days were over, but Vick recently stated that he still has interest in extending his career at least one more year.
“I’ve got one more dedicated season in my blood, if somebody needs me to come in,” Vick told the DailyPress.com. “But I’m kind of happy where I am right now. I’ve got my health, I’ve got my kids, I’ve got my family. The game has done so much for me in terms of relationships, opportunities to take care of myself and my family. I’m just thankful. I give all the credit to God.”
The soon-to-be 36-year-old may not be the same physical specimen that he was during the prime of his career, but he still has plenty to offer a team as a threat with his legs. If anything, Vick can be a viable option as a backup quarterback. He proved that last season with Pittsburgh, holding a 1-1 record in the two starts. Both could have resulted in wins had his team not fallen short in overtime to the Baltimore Ravens.
In that same breath, Vick has expressed the desire to return to the Steelers for another campaign because of the culture and comfort he has with the organization. He told Steelers.com:
It’s a special group, it’s a special atmosphere. It’s a special group of coaches. I think Coach [Mike] Tomlin and what he demands from the players, he gives it to us but at the end of the day he understands we are men. He puts responsibility on us and we respond.
I think it’s the type of coach he is in terms of how he treats his players. He makes his players want to work hard for him. From Day 1, from the time I got here, it was a family oriented atmosphere. My first day felt like I had been here for two months because everybody welcomed me in. You can’t ask for more.
If the Steelers continue to show no strong interest in bringing him back this upcoming season, other teams looking for much-needed stability could present him with opportunities. The bottom line: The quarterback is the most important position in the NFL, and the opportunity to add a player like Vick, who has 15 years of experience along with a playmaking ability, may be enough to earn him one more shot at extending his career.