Michael Vick is also one of the best stories ever told, believe it or not. When I call him a Jerk, I am referring to Steve Martin's portrayal of Navin R. Johnson. He started out with nothing. He was poor in a way not too many people can identify with. Before he ever had a dime of his own and when he still lived in the projects in Newport News, we all knew his name. We all knew he'd chosen Virginia Tech. He was one of the most famous athletes in America as a dirt poor 17 year-old kid.
Then he hit Virginia Tech and Michael Vick blew up. Within that first year, he was the most talked about player in all of college football and maybe the most talked about guy in all of football, period.
Ten years ago, he was the #1 pick in the NFL Draft. A year after that, he had the Falcons in the playoffs and he was a Pro Bowler. In 2003, he broke his leg and we missed him all year long. In 2004, he was back in the Pro Bowl. He had been phenomenal and remained so, but he seemed a little less enthused. Like he was growing complacent with where he was.
Jump ahead to 2007 and he pled guilty to federal charges related to dog fighting. The NFL suspended him indefinitely and the Falcons looked to get back 20 million dollars of a 37 million dollar signing bonus they'd given him when he signed a huge contract in 2004.
He did 23 months in prison for his crimes and he'd lost everything. He was reduced to nothing. When he got out of prison, he had as little as he'd had before he went to Virginia Tech and became a star. Back then, he was poor, but he was a teenager with a bright future. Now he's a grown man with no future and he's just as poor. Same situation, but without all the hope and optimism.
He'd been paying his mother $100,000 a year to work for him and now she might be a school bus driver again. He'd bought her a house in a nice part of town, but that might not last now. He lost it all like he never even had it in the first place.
From November 2007 through July 2009, Michael Vick was in prison. By September of last year, he was the starting QB for the Eagles. He was back to the Pro Bowl and then given the franchise tag, which would've paid him almost 16 million dollars in 2011. Today, he signed a six year contract worth 100 million dollars and we're all about to start hating him all over again because...Well we won't know why, but we'll come with a lot of excuses.
I think we should celebrate Michael Vick. Not many of us could or would keep going the way he did. Plenty of us would stop and withdraw from the spotlight and just live with having lost everything. Michael Vick went and got it back. Good for him.