When NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Michael Vick indefinitely in August 2007, he knew that Vick would have a long road ahead to regain his status as an elite professional quarterback. That long road has led to Philadelphia, and Vick is once again in the spotlight.
Goodell was in Philadelphia on Thursday morning to attend the press conference announcing the Eagles' plan to make Lincoln Financial Field the first major sports stadium to convert to self-generated renewable energy. After the announcement, Goodell told the New York Daily News that he's more proud of Vick for his actions off the field than his resurgence on it.
"He's done terrific off the field,"" Goodell said. ""I'm proud of how he has responded. There are so many examples in our society of failure, people falling short. We need more success stories. I'm hoping Michael Vick will be a success story. People need to see that. People need to be inspired by that – a person made a tragic error and he's overcome it."
Now that Vick has catapulted himself back into the forefront of the NFL, Goodell believes there are lessons to be learned from Vick's story. Young NFL players are put in situations they never dreamed of, and Goodell said it's crucial for them to remember the importance of making the right decision. If the story of Vick's life can teach those younger players anything, it should be that ultimate success is often predicated on making the right choices.
"There is a big message in what Michael is doing," Goodell said. "He's a superstar athlete who everyone thought had everything in the world. He fell from grace tragically by making some horrific mistakes, paid a significant price, worked his way back in and now he's being successful. It demonstrates to me to get to these young men earlier and work with them and make them understand their responsibility making decisions that will define them for a period of time.
Goodell met with Vick when he visited the Eagles at training camp over the summer. Since that meeting, Goodell said that he has kept in contact with Vick.
"I've called (Vick) about certain things,"" Goodell continued. ""I let him know that I care and want him to succeed. He's probably so much more satisfied and comfortable with his life right now. He's getting married next spring. He's got children. He's doing all the right things."
-- Posted by Josh Goldman, 6:00 p.m., November 18