Michael Vick may or may not be the best quarterback on the New York Jets' roster—that much should play out through the course of the 2014 season. But he knows what's best for him to say entering the season.
That much was shown on Friday, when Vick gave a ringing endorsement to quarterback Geno Smith. The 33-year-old told ESPN.com's Rich Cimini that he believes Smith can lead the Jets to the promised land:
In a wide-ranging interview, Vick sounded resigned to serving as Geno Smith's backup for the Jets. He said Smith is capable of leading the Jets to a Super Bowl.
"I think it can happen this year," he said.
"I think Geno can take us to where we need to go. It'll seal my legacy -- for me, myself. For the public, I don't know."
For one of the best quarterbacks of this generation, it's obviously not easy for Vick to hold the clipboard and serve as a backup. And considering the ever-changing landscape of the quarterback position for many NFL teams along with the importance of it, it's hard to see him not getting his chance again—he'll be 34 before the season.
Vick's pride has shone through many times since he joined the Jets, most recently when he told NFL Network's Kimberly Jones earlier this month that it "hurts deep down" not to be one of the 32 starting QBs.
Deep down, too, he probably believes that he's the best quarterback on the roster.
But the Jets didn't pick Smith in the first round a year ago just to pick up a quarterback with—maybe—a few years left. They didn't stick with him as a starter all season despite turnover-prone performances just to give his job to Vick.
Smith has been slowly building confidence throughout his more than a year with New York, even hushing rookie safety and teammate Calvin Pryor and becoming more of a locker room leader.
Then, of course, there's the inevitable injury bug for Vick. Despite re-emerging as of late, Vick only played 10 games in 2012 and was hurt after five weeks in 2013. In his second NFL life in Philadelphia, he could never stay on the field long enough to make the Eagles serious Super Bowl contenders.
Vick hasn't been impressing much in OTAs, either, according to the New York Post's Bart Hubbuch. And considering he likely had to knock the Jets coaches' socks off to jump the guy they have been planning to go with at quarterback for more than a year, he's smart to take a back seat.
Pre-training-camp performances aren't enough to write off Vick. But considering he probably had to knock the coaches' socks off in order to threaten Smith for the starting job, he's smart to politely take the back seat.
Being the backup actually gives Vick a good bit of flexibility heading into the season.
If Smith gets hurt or struggles, he'll be in line to save the day and would be a hot commodity as a free agent next offseason if he performed well. If he doesn't play, he'll be able to part ways with the Jets with a year of not getting hit under his belt—a rarity for Vick at any point in his career. That could help him vie for a starting job in 2015.
There's no doubt that Vick can still start at quarterback in the NFL if he's healthy, but the Jets aren't in a bad position with Smith at the helm. Rolling the dice with Vick as the starter would only stunt Smith's growth in a season where he could take off.
Dreams of a Vick-Chris Johnson backfield might be running rampant through the Big Apple, but that's a sight that Jets fans will only see if Smith doesn't finish out the season for whatever reason.
Having Vick in the fold gives the Jets much-needed insurance, but he wasn't brought in to be New York's savior—not unless Smith goes down. Rex Ryan and Co. are going to go with the youngster, and Vick is wise to follow suit.
Follow Steven Cook on Twitter.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!