The Rise and Fall of a Con-Vick

David PhillipsAnalyst IFebruary 15, 2009

If Michael Vick returns to the National Football League after serving prison time for his involvement in dog fighting, it won't be with the Atlanta Falcons.

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said the team is seeking to trade the rights to Vick, who currently is suspended from the league and jailed on federal dogfighting charges.

"With regards to Michael Vick, we've decided to seek a trade of his contractual rights to another NFL club," Dimitroff said.

"We took a number of steps in the 2008 season, including using our first pick to draft a quarterback. We feel a trade is the best move for the Falcons, and it's also in the best interest of Michael."

The Falcons got more than they expected last season from rookie quarterback Matt Ryan, who was drafted No. 3 overall and led the Falcons to the playoffs one year after the club completed a disastrous 4-12 season.

Vick is serving a 23-month jail sentence on federal dogfighting charges. He is expected to be released in July 2009.

The former number one draft pick was suspended indefinitely by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

In 2004, Vick inked a record $130 million, 10-year contract with Atlanta, but in November he filed for bankruptcy, claiming assets of $16 million and liabilities of $20.4 million.

Vick first came to surface while at Homer F. Furgeson in Newport News. As a freshman, he impressed many with his athletic ability, throwing for over 400 yards in a game that year. Ferguson High School was closed in 1996. Vick, as a sophomore, and coach Tommy Reamon both moved to Warrick High School.

At Warwick High School, Vick was a three-year starter, passing for 4,846 yards with 43 touchdowns during his career.

After completing his high school career, he accepted a full ride from Virgina Tech and was redshirted as a freshman.

He led Virgina Tech to an 11–0 season and to the BCS national title game in the 2000 Sugar Bowl against Flordia State. Although Virginia Tech lost 46–29, Vick was able to bring the team back from a 21-point deficit to take a brief lead.

Vick was awarded an ESPY Award as the nation's top college player, and won the first-ever Archie Griffin Award as college football's MVP. He was invited to the 1999 Heisman Thropy presentation and finished third in the voting behind Ron Dayne and Joe Hamilton. Vick's third-place finish matched the highest finish ever by a freshman up to that point.

Although he had a four-year paid scholarship, the opportunity to play professionally and the related huge financial benefits caused Vick to leave Virginia Tech after his redshirt sophomore season and become a professional football player.

In his RS freshman season, he went 90-153 with 1,840 yards, 12 TDs, 5 INTs, and rushed for 540 yards and 8 touchdowns.

In his RS sophomore season, he went 97-179 with 1,437 yards, 9 TDs, 7 INTs, and rushed for 636 yards and 9 touchdowns.

Vick was selected in the 2001 NFL Draft as the first overall pick and first African American quarterback ever taken No. 1 in the NFL Draft. The San Deigo Chargers had the number one selection spot in the draft that year, but traded the rights to the first overall choice to the Atlanta Falcons a day before the draft. He was also drafted in the 30th round of the 2000 MLB Draft by the Colorado Rockies, despite not playing baseball at Virginia Tech.

Vick owns several NFL records, including the most rushing yards by a quarterback in a single season—1,039 in 2006, 100-yard career rushing games by a quarterback—eight, best two-game rushing total—225 in 2004, and rushing yards in a single game—173 in 2002.

During his NFL career, Vick had endorsements from NIKE, EA Sports, Coca-Cola, Powerade, Kraft Foods, Rawlings, Hasbro, and AirTran. His contract, along with his endorsements, had Vick ranked 33rd among Forbes Top 100 in 2005. However, two years later, he was not even listed on the Forbes Top 100, even before the animal cruelty case surfaced in 2007.

There are other issues that could factor into whether Vick gets another opportunity in professional football. Few general managers are in a strong enough position to consider taking a chance on Vick, and even then, most NFL owners would be concerned about a fan and media backlash. The CFL (Canadian Football League) is not a realistic possibility, as in 2007 it banned players currently suspended by the NFL. A career in the AFL (Arena Football League), which does not normally honor NFL suspensions, is a possibility if Vick is further suspended for the 2009 season.

The new UFL (United Football League) is also said to be interested in Vick. In August 2008, UFL commissioner said Vick's chances of playing in his league in 2009 are "98 percent."

In the NFL, he went 930-1730 with 11,505 yards, 71 TDs, 52 INTs, and rushed for 3,859 yards and 21 TDs with 529 attempts in his six seasons with Atlanta.

The big question is, will anyone take a chance on him after the bad press? Will he get a quarterback position or have to accept a running back or receiver position? And that's if the NFL will ever reinstate him. Don't worry, he's definitely in shape; workouts and playing sports are top priorities for Vick in prison.

Dallas and Miami are known for picking up the ex-bad boys. Look for these two teams to show interest in him, along with Lions, Cheifs, Browns, 49ers, and many more that could use his talent.