It was almost like the scene out of the 1993 movie "The Program." In the movie, running back Darnell Jefferson, played by Omar Epps, has to carry around a football at all times after having some fumbling issues.
Fast forward 19 years later to the NovaCare Complex.
After losing two fumbles last week in the loss to the Steelers, quarterback Michael Vick carried the football around the team's facility keeping it away from teammates who would try to strip it out. Vick was successful during the week and he hopes to carry that momentum into this Sunday's game against the Lions.
"That's how much I care about this team and that's how much I care about our success and winning on Sundays," Vick said. "I'm going to do everything I can to make sure that I take care of my responsibilities."
Vick has committed 11 turnovers in 2012 - six interceptions and five fumbles. He has corrected the interception issue as he's gone three straight games without throwing one. Now, he hopes to get the fumble issue in check.
"I've taken tips from some of the running backs who carry the football. I love football so much and with all the football I've watched - this entire week I've watched guys carry the football – and everybody has it high and tight," Vick said. "Even quarterbacks that I've watched. It's something that I definitely need to do. There's a comfort level that I've been able to develop when holding the football."
Vick has worn new protective padding over his ribs this season to prevent damage from hits like the one he took against New England which ended his preseason. Vick said that the vest has not been a reason for the fumbles.
"I'm keeping the same flak jacket. I don't think that had an effect on the ball coming out," Vick said. "The guy put his helmet right on the ball. With the second fumble, if I just go through my progressions, it would have never lead to that. I went back and looked at all of the film with the turnovers that I had and what I could have been able to do to correct it, and they are all things to do to prevent it. They are all things that could be corrected and it's all self-inflicted. I just have to trust in what we're doing."
It's one thing to talk about protecting the ball. It's another to execute that mantra in practice when wearing a red jersey shielding him from hits. But it's a totally different situation on gameday. Vick understands that it's his job to take care of the ball.
"It's kind of hard, but at the same time, you want to play naturally and let everything flow. I always talk about being in the moment and being able to do the right things when you're out there playing. It's very important," Vick said. "You have to stay conscious and keep it in the back of your mind as far as what you have to do when you're holding the football. I do it in the passing game because I can see downfield, so I've been able to take care of that, but sometimes running with the football you have guys coming from everywhere. We get paid to protect the football."
If Vick can indeed protect the football, he can help to write a Hollywood ending to Sunday's game with a win.
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