When Michael Vick signed with the Eagles in 2009, he was grateful for the opportunity to be with a winning organization. He was hungry to prove himself after an 18-month sentence in prison. He felt blessed to be a free man and wanted to seize the opportunity to show that he was a different man, a changed person on and off the football field.
A little over two years later, the Eagles declared that Vick is the present and future of this franchise as they signed him to a six-year contract on Tuesday. Not only has Vick regained the stature as one of the preeminent players in the NFL, but Vick has been the consummate professional on and off the football field as a leader in the locker room and a role model in the community.
"I'm glad to be a part of a great organization and I'm ready to lend all of my support, prepare myself, and make the greatest contribution to this game that I can make," Vick said. "I just go back in time and think about how hard it's been over the last two years with the sacrifices I had to make and what I had to give up, it's been all worth it. With that said, I'd like to just thank this organization for the opportunity. The common goal is to bring that ring back to the City of Philadelphia, and that's what we're working towards."
Vick studied behind Donovan McNabb in 2009 and replaced Kevin Kolb as the starting quarterback in 2010 after marvelous performances against the Packers and Lions to open the season. Vick was 8-3 as a starter last year as he helped carry the Eagles to the NFC East crown. Along the way, Vick earned his fourth Pro Bowl nomination and was named the AP Comeback Player of the Year. Vick enjoyed his best season overall as a quarterback, but he will be the first to tell you that his work his far from finished. The Eagles have placed faith that Vick will continue to be an elite quarterback. And just because he has the security of a long-term deal, Vick's competitive spirit and desire to be a champion will continue to motivate him.
"I think if anything it will make me want to work harder, and just to continue to show that I'm worthy of everything that I've gotten," Vick said. "I think back to when I first got here and the commitment that I made to myself and to Andy that I'm going to change. I've always been a guy that's worked hard, and I see the progress that's been made in my career so why stop? It's something that drives and motivates you, and I'm motivated now because I play with such great teammates and we have the opportunity to do something special."
After Vick's two-year contract expired at the end of last season, the Eagles placed the franchise tag on him which he signed on March 3. Under the rules of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Eagles had until September 20 to hammer out a long-term deal or talks would have been forced to wait until the offseason. Vick's agent, Joel Segal, said that his client "ordered him to get a deal done" displaying Vick's commitment to the Eagles and his gratitude for the Eagles being the team to step up and invest in him in 2009.
"That's an outstanding feeling for me to know that I'm going to be here, possibly for the duration of my career. And I know I can't play this game forever and I know the clock is ticking and that's more motivation for me to try and get it done as early as I can," Vick said. "And you know, it's just another opportunity that's been created in my life to press forward and shoot for the stars. I look at it as a challenge and as a competitor you love challenges, you want to be in this position and nothing would make you happier then to put a ring on (Reid's) finger and mine as well. So that's my goal, that's what I'm setting out to do and that's what I'm going to rile this team up to do."
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