Fictional character Roy Hobbs has nothing on Michael Vick.
Hobbs, played by Robert Redford in the 1984 movie The Natural, had numerous problems off the field but was virtually unstoppable on it. He never achieved his almost superhuman potential on the field but did manage to make an impact.
Michael Vick could do the same.
Hobbs even had to make a comeback after spending many years away from the game.
One of the memorable lines in the movie was when Hobbs expressed his disappointment in his career lamenting, “I just wanted them to say there goes Roy Hobbs, the best there ever was in this game.”
Like Hobbs Vick initially did not get much playing time after coming back into the league and watched a large number of games from the sideline.
The circumstances may be a little different but there is no doubt that Michael Vick feels the same way Roy Hobbs did.
After all, Vick did not begin his football career on the sidelines. He was a natural from day one on the field demonstrating extraordinary speed and quickness as well as an exceptional passing game.
Vick was noticed early. As a freshman, he quickly impressed coaches and fans with his athletic ability, throwing for over 400 yards in a game that year at Ferguson High School. As a sophomore, he moved to Warwick High School where his amazing feats continued.
At Warwick Vick was a three-year starter for the Raiders, passing for 4,846 yards with 43 touchdowns. He ran for six touchdowns and threw for three touchdowns in a single game. He added 1,048 yards and 18 scores on the ground. As a senior, he gained national attention passing for 1,668 yards, and executing ten passing and ten rushing touchdowns.
Vick went on to a short but storied performance after selecting Virginia Tech as his college football home.
At Tech, Vick led the NCAA in passing efficiency that year, setting a record for a freshman (180.4), which was the third-highest all-time mark. Vick was awarded an ESPY Award as the nation's top collegiate player. He also and won the Archie Griffin Award as college football's MVP and finished third in Heisman the voting behind Ron Dayne and Joe Hamilton while appearing on the cover of ESPN magazine.
Vick was selected number one in the 2001 NFL draft. The San Diego Chargers had the number one selection but traded the rights to the first overall choice to the Atlanta Falcons for which they received the Falcons' first round pick (5th overall) and third round pick in 2001.
The rest was story book as Vick went on to display his prowess in the NFL passing and rushing for touchdowns and leading his team to come from behind victories.
It was not long before Vick was so popular that his Atlanta Falcons jersey number 7 was selling out in almost every NFL city.
Michael Vick was also promoting Nike, EA Sports, Powerade, Coke, Kraft foods, and several more large advertisers.
To top it all off Vick signed a unbelievable $130 million dollar contract with the Atlanta Falcons at the time surpassing the $98 million Peyton Manning signed and exceeding Philadelphia QB and future teammate Donovan McNabb's 12-year, $115 million deal that was to run through 2013.
Roy Hobbs had to deal with personal vices that exacerbated an old injury. Michael Vick had to deal with personal vices that led to old problems from the “neighborhood disguised as friends and confidants.”
After experiencing prison, a public humiliation from a ex-girlfriend regarding herpes, losing all of his endorsement deals, and his mega contract Michael Vick had to emerge changed or beaten down.
Some wanted to see Michael Vick fail. Even though they know of friends and relatives, who fight dogs deep in the woods on the weekend. Some said he just made too much money and needed to be taken down a peg or two.
Last week Michael Vick showed why football has such a devoted following. At 30, Vick has the fourth highest quarterback rating in the NFL and has shown some of the skills many detractors said he had lost
Vicks story could be made into a movie if it ended today, but since there is a long season ahead and many opportunities to get in trouble on probation all we can do is hold our breath and hope for the best.
In the movie Roy Hobbs ended his career and headed back to the farm where he grew up and played catch with his son.
The hope is Michael Vick does not buy the farm before enough Eagles receivers catch passes in the in zone and provide him a chance for fans to say " there goes Michael Vick one of the best quarterbacks ever to play the game."