The astounding second act of quarterback Michael Vick's career and his rise to the upper echelon of NFL players has been well documented. His leadership and brilliant play is a major reason the Super Bowl buzz around the Eagles is so strong this season.
For as natural as it feels watching Vick don midnight green, it can be easy to forget just how short a time he's been in Philadelphia. Monday marked the third anniversary of Vick joining the Eagles, and after practice the quarterback took time to reflect on his journey so far.
Vick didn't think he would find career resurrection in the City of Brotherly Love. He didn't even think he'd see two seasons.
"I just thought it would be a one-year deal, and (I would) go off and adventure out and see what happened," Vick said. "But the Lord works in mysterious ways, and I'm glad that I was able to prove and show these coaches that I had a decent enough of a skill that could play within the offense, and I feel honored."
Ironically, the news of the Vick signing broke as the Eagles played their first preseason game of 2009 against the Patriots, this week's opponent. His first practice with the team was something Vick was not used to. After all, he had been an unquestioned superstar for his entire collegiate and professional career.
But with the Eagles he was being asked to sit on the sidelines and watch for the first time in years. Still, Vick never took the experience for granted.
"My first day, first practice, it just all felt weird," he said. "I much rather would have wanted to be in a different position at the time, not being a number three. But I accepted it for what it was, and that was a time when I really had to grow up and understand my position and play to the best of my ability. But the one thing I can tell you is that I was very thankful."
Vick didn't have to feel uneasy for long. In fact, it really only took walking out in front of the home crowd for Vick to feel at home again. And to him, that bond had very little to do with football.
"Just to embrace my first time running out on the field after two years of (not) playing football, the warm reception, and right there I think it was a bond," Vick said. "Not necessarily with football, but moreso on the personal level."
After taking over as the starter during the 2010 season, Vick had his best season as a pro and reclaimed his superstar status in the process. He credits that success to the organization around him, especially head coach Andy Reid.
"I always watched the Philadelphia Eagles, (and) even when I was playing in Atlanta I thought it was a tough football team and (I) always used to see Andy on TV and wonder what kind of person he was, just by the way he looked," Vick said. "And I never knew that he would be the person that I found out he was.
"I couldn't have done it without the supporting class that I have here. The organization, Coach Reid being here every step of the way, helping me grow in a lot of facets in my life and just holding me accountable, and I think that helped me grow up and it helped my makeup a little bit, as far as ... doing the right things and helping me in my areas of my life."
Though Vick said it feels like he's been an Eagle for three years, he loves and appreciates the opportunity to captain a Super Bowl contender once again.
"Each and every day since I've been here has been a grind, and it's always been working and striving toward something," Vick said. "Every year our expectations get higher and higher. I appreciate playing in the City of Philadelphia, and support of the city and what it represents and I am just thankful for a second chance. I want to make it all right."
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