Just because Michael Vick has regained the status of one of the elite players in the National Football League, it doesn't mean that Vick's off-the-field cause has been forgotten.
In fact, it's as strong as ever.
Vick unveiled a new public service announcement on Friday that he filmed with The Humane Society of the United States to help end dogfighting to students at Simon Gratz High School in the Hunting Park section of Philadelphia.
"You know who I am. You know why I'm here. You know the difference between right and wrong. Make a choice. If you see animal cruelty in your neighborhood, speak up. Make the call," Vick said in the public service announcement.
Vick also debuted a two-minute educational video from The Humane Society's "Pets for Life" program featuring a direct message from him to young people, encouraging them to treat animals with kindness and care for their pets. The Humane Society is hosting a free vaccination clinic for dogs and cats in Hunting Park on Saturday.
Vick teamed up with The Humane Society of the United States following his release from prison for his role in a dogfighting operation. As part of the one-hour session with the students, Vick also took some very tough and honest questions from the audience. Vick was asked how he was able to devote so much time to both football and dogfighting. The students wanted to know if he thought he would ever get caught. Vick has toured the country and spoken to around 15,000 kids and he said afterwards that this was the "best crowd" and that he was "very proud of them."
"These are smart kids. They understand," Vick added.
Due to limited time for both Vick and The Humane Society of the United States, they figured the public service announcement would be one way to get the message across to potentially millions of people. However, in this day and age the power of one-on-one communication still holds a lot of weight.
"I feel great about it. I do it for the kids, for the protection and welfare of the animals," Vick said emphasizing his lifetime commitment to the cause and the organization. "I'm going to continue to do it. I do it from the goodness of my heart. I do it because I care."
Vick has spent a huge part of the offseason in Philadelphia working out at the NovaCare Complex preparing for the 2012 season. The moves that the Eagles have made this offseason - securing DeSean Jackson, Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans long-term on offense as well as bringing back veteran King Dunlap on Friday - will allow the Eagles to start 2012 the way 2011 ended in Vick's estimation.
"The way we finished the season is the way we need to start the season. The same mindset. The same sense of confidence. The same type of bravado we played the last four games with," Vick said. "I'm just very excited about where we are. Everybody's been working hard in the weight room, watching film and I'm just trying to perfect my game. I've got to make the most of the opportunities that I've got now."
Vick is also confident that a long-term extension will be "resolved at the appropriate time" with running back LeSean McCoy.
"He just wants to win just like everybody else. We've got a good feeling within the organization," Vick said. "We just want to fly under the radar."
A report from the Los Angeles Times that indicated the Eagles had some preliminary interest in quarterback Peyton Manning certainly didn't go under the radar. Vick was asked about the report and was direct and truthful in his thoughts.
"I don't know how true it is and I really don't care," Vick said. "I feel no threat within my position. They can bring in the best quarterback around and I'm going to play my best. I'm one of the best. I've got to be honest, I'm one of the best."
And not only is Vick one of the best quarterbacks, but he's one of the best at keeping his word, his commitment to The Humane Society of the United States. The relationship was not just some public relations stunt to help get him back to football. It's the platform with which Vick can make the most significant impact in people's lives.
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