When Michael Vick was reinstated into the NFL by Commissioner Roger Goodell, his future was unclear: could he reclaim his superstar status and could he perform like the gifted athlete that had dominated the league?
Vick signed a one year deal in 2009 with the Philadelphia Eagles just a few weeks after his reinstatement. He served a 18 month prison sentence for being involved in a brutal dog fighting ring in one of his homes in Virginia.
Andy Reid and the Eagles took a chance with Vick and eventually gave him his hard-fought shot at redemption. When Kevin Kolb became injured, Vick got his first real chance to prove he could still be a successful starting quarterback. Since then, Vick has morphed into one of the most dominating players in the National Football League.
Every NFL fan has been talking about Vick ever since he first got his chance to shine in Week 1. Now, the three-time pro bowler is receiving a bit of presidential attention. U.S. president Barack Obama has reportedly contacted Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie to discuss his plans for the use of alternative energy at Lincoln Financial Field as well as Lurie's decision to give the troubled star a chance at a new beginning.
Lurie told Sports Illustrated's Peter King that "He[Obama] said, 'So many people who serve time never get a fair second chance.' He was passionate about it. He said it's never a level playing field for prisoners when they get out of jail. And he was happy that we did something on such a national stage that showed our faith in giving someone a second chance after such a major downfall."
Lurie went on to say that "He's a real football fan, He loves his Bears."
For any doubters of the legitimacy of this report, the White House confirmed that conversation by releasing a statement saying, "He of course condemns the crimes that Michael Vick was convicted of but, as he's said previously, he does think that individuals who have paid for their crimes should have an opportunity to contribute to society again."
Not too many teams showed interest in Vick because of the baggage he would bring, but the risk that the Eagles had taken has definitely paid off and will have many thinking twice when Plaxico Burress is released form prison and reinstated into the NFL.
Michael Vick's resurgence in the National Football League will open doors to many troubled athletes in the future, starting with Burress when he is released from serving his prison sentence. If Burress can come back and redeem himself as Vick has, he will prove that Vick hasn't been a rare commodity and that any player can bounce back from a hardship as long as they have the focus, discipline and drive necessary to be successful once again.