It took an entire Pro Bowl caliber season, but Philadelphia Eagles starting quarterback Michael Vick has signed his first endorsement deal since his return to the National Football League in 2009.
Unequal Technologies, a company who provided Vick with his padding for much of the 2010 season, has inked him to a two-year deal that both sides can be happy with, according to ESPN's Matt Mosley. Unequal provided Vick with most of his shock absorbing pads after he returned from his three-week injury during the 2010 regular season, and because of that Vick was happy to sign the deal.
The vest Michael wore to secure his ribs to the shoulder pads he wore later in the season were all provided by Unequal Technologies.
With the partnership between the two, Vick now has multiple reasons to stand tall going further. He should be head coach Andy Reid's top priority in free agency this offseason due to his level of play in 2010, and if he can have a repeat season in 2011, the endorsements should start flowing his way.
"The Unequal technology is a part of my game now and I won't play without my Unequal," Vick said in a statement via the Associated Press. "Unequal's protective power gives me a whole new level of confidence in my game. It makes me feel invincible."
Vick is finally getting some corporate recognition following his prison sentence, and the hope for Vick is that other companies will soon follow suit. One thing is certain though, just like Michael Vick won't forget who gave him his second chance in the NFL, he won't forget who gave him his first endorsement either.
"We're real excited about it," chief executive officer Rob Vito said on Tuesday. "Michael is a good person. He paid his dues. President Obama reached out to him. He deserves an opportunity. This is what makes America so great. He's moved forward. He's a whole other person."
The company chief executive went on to say that Michael is their (Unequal Technologies) first signed athlete endorsement and even though the specifics of the contract have not yet been released, Vito agrees it's a "sizable" contract. "We believe it was worth it," he said, "because of Michael Vick and how he can shed light on the technology of our products."
Prior to his 2007 arrest, Vick was the highest-paid athlete in NFL history after inking a lucrative deal with the Atlanta Falcons. He had corporations lining up at his door step trying to get him to promote their products, but that all went up in flames after state officials were made aware of the dog-fighting activities on his property.
As mentioned countless times over the last season, he's paid his dues that the government felt were warranted and is currently an influential leader on and off the field during his time with the Eagles organization. Here's to hoping that he can continue the new lifestyle that he is enjoying and won't be swayed by any negative distractions.
Well done Mike, and congratulations on your first endorsement!