Michael Vick has traveled along a long road to get to where he is right now—or more accurately, where he was on Monday Night Football. Through a series a horrid decisions and redemption attempts, we finally get to see the man that was taken first overall in the 2001 NFL Draft.
And it can't help but put a smile on your face.
Vick was unreal in college. They talk about great college players being men amongst boys. Well, if that's the case, Vick could have been immortal.
He showed flashes of greatness in just his two years of play at Virginia Tech, leading the Hokies to a national title appearance. Had it not been for a poor living situation for his family and the astronomical draft projections, Vick's final two years likely would have been legendary. But Vick had to do what was best for his family, saying, "I want to buy my mom a house and a car."
What followed that decision were five magical years in Atlanta, which included a playoff win at Lambeau Field against Brett Favre and an NFC Title appearance against friend and future teammate Donovan McNabb.
Vick quickly emerged as the most electrifying player the league had ever seen. The NFL showcased some of the best athletes in the world, but it had never seen a quarterback quite like this.
The strange thing about Michael is, although he undoubtedly had the ability to be a great thrower, he always seemed to be a run first guy. He had his games throwing the football, but never really put together a terrific season with his arm, which drew the ire of some critics.
All the same, Vick was still a Pro Bowl quarterback and a winner.
Then came his infamous fall from grace.
Despite constant denials by Vick regarding dogfighting charges, he was indicted and plead guilty to federal dogfighting charges in August of 2007.
The best athlete the NFL had ever seen was now going to prison for a long time and many believed he would never again see an NFL field.
Upon his release in 2009, the sports news networks quickly jumped on the possibility that Vick could be in an NFL uniform by the beginning of the season. Two months after being released, getting his life in order and enjoying his freedom, Vick signed a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Roger Goodell then quickly ruled on Vick. He opted on the side of leniency, only suspending the troubled QB for four games before being officially reinstated by the league.
His limited playing time produced solid results, but with a mainstay at QB in Donovan McNabb and a possible future franchise arm in Kevin Kolb, there appeared to be no future for Vick in Philly, at least not as a starter.
That's when things got interesting.
Donovan McNabb, under-appreciated by Eagles fans for nearly all of his 11 seasons in a Philly uniform, was traded and Kevin Kolb emerged as the new franchise guy.
That didn't last too long, now, did it?
Following an opening game concussion, Kolb had to head to the locker room. If only he knew at that time how long he would be holding a clipboard.
Vick stepped on the field and immediately energized the offense, nearly coming back from an early deficit to defeat the Packers on opening day.
What we have seen since from Vick is nothing more than what was expected in the first place. Somewhere along the line, whether a be a product of his turmoil and reformation or otherwise, Michael developed something on the field that had been previously lacking: Patience.
No longer a run-first guy, Vick has shown startling accuracy and arm strength that had previously been locked up.
The fact that his world was turned upside down so quickly has forced Michael to mature rapidly. That maturity has followed him to the football field, where he now appears to be getting 100 percent of his abilities. If he continues to play with patience and maturity, we could be in store for something magical.
The dogfighting, gambling, run-at-all-costs guy is no more.
Michael Vick has been through enough to know by now that running first is not always the best strategy.