Michael Vick and 10 NFL Players Doing Most With Second Chances
League commissioner Roger Goodell has drawn criticism from players across the league for being too heavy-handed with fines. It cannot be said, however, that he has not been willing to hand out second chances as well.
Michael Vick is just one of the many NFL players who has been given a chance at redemption after a brush with the law. Vick is by far the highest profile star to climb back to the top of the league after falling from grace, but he is not alone.
Along with Vick, here are 10 other players who have been given a second chance in the NFL and are making the most of it.
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Ahmad Bradshaw is in the NFL thanks to the coaches at Marshall University. After an incident involving underage drinking and resisting arrest at the University of Virginia led to his dismissal from the school's team, Bradshaw blossomed into a star at Marshall.
Bradshaw was not perfect at Marshall, however: He was charged with petty larceny after stealing a PlayStation from another student's dorm room. This led to a 60-day jail sentence that was served after he entered the NFL.
Legal troubles have not held Bradshaw back. He has grabbed the feature back role from Brandon Jacobs, and last season was his first career 1,000-yard season.
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Ben Roethlisberger has never been arrested. He has, however, been accused by two women of sexual assault. While his indiscretions never led to legal troubles, Goodell suspended him for the first four games of the 2010 season.
The suspension hardly hurt Big Ben. He led the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Super Bowl following his suspension, and has worked hard to improve his image over the past year.
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Cedric Benson never lived up to expectations in Chicago after being a first-round pick by the Bears. He has also had more than his fair share of legal troubles.
Benson's legal troubles were hard for Bears fans to handle as Benson struggled to develop into an elite NFL running back, with Chicago cutting all ties with Benson in 2008 after receiving two alcohol-related arrests in less than a month.
The Cincinnati Bengals snapped Benson up, and he has been producing ever since. He has two consecutive 1,000-yard seasons and is working on a third.
Benson's time in Cincinnati has not been without problems, though. His latest arrest, for assaulting a family member, currently has a suspension looming over his head.
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Kenny Britt spent most of the NFL lockout finding ways to get arrested. It seems the Tennessee Titans wide receiver should not be allowed on the road.
Britt has never drawn the ire of the commissioner. This season was looking like it would be the year the erratic Britt finally put his talent together, but a season-ending knee injury ended that possibility.
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Marshall clashed with the Denver Broncos' coaches, and was ultimately forced out of the Mile High City. He had avoided controversy in Miami until this spring, when, during a domestic dispute, his wife stabbed him in the stomach.
As Marshall continues to get treatment for his personality disorder, his NFL career and personal life should stabilize. Marshall is a beast on the football field, and once his personal life is straightened out, look for him to take his game to another level.
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Plaxico Burress is slowly regaining the form that made him an elite NFL receiver before his two-year jail sentence. Clearly, time away from football has hurt Burress.
Burress is fortunate that the Jets even took a chance on him. Although his signing has not provided immediate results, they are coming.
Burress has already caught two touchdowns this season and is averaging 16 yards per catch. As Burress develops chemistry with quarterback Mark Sanchez, he will show the football world that the Jets were not foolish for giving him a second chance.
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Santonio Holmes' legal troubles forced the Steelers to trade him to the Jets, as his problems with marijuana and a lawsuit stemming from a night club incident came in the midst of Ben Roethlisberger's sexual assault incidents.
Somebody had to go, and it was not going to be the Super-Bowl-winning quarterback.
Holmes was forced to sit out the first four games of the 2010 season due to his violation of the league's substance abuse policy. Since returning to lead the Jets receiving corps. Holmes has kept out of trouble, and was rewarded with a lucrative five-year contract during the offseason.
The Minnesota Vikings parted ways with Bryant McKinnie—their Pro Bowl left tackle—during the preseason as his weight had ballooned close to 400 pounds.
The Baltimore Ravens, with serious issues on their offensive line, took a chance on McKinnie. He has gotten his weight under control, helping to turn the Ravens' offensive line from a concern into a strength.
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LeGarrette Blount is infamous for throwing a punch at a Boise State player while playing for the Oregon Ducks. Although Blount was first suspended for the remainder of his senior season, he was subsequently reinstated by head coach Chip Kelly.
Blount's NFL career did not get off to the fastest of starts. He signed with the Tennessee Titans as an undrafted free agent. The most notable event of his short time with the Titans was his involvement in a fight during practice in which he threw a punch at a teammate.
Blount was released by the Titans, but his career has taken off with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In only 13 games in 2010, he rushed for more than 1,000 yards.
Blount has not missed a beat in 2011.
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Besides "Pac-Man" Jones, it seems that no NFL player has been in trouble with the law, or clashed with coaches, as often as Albert Haynesworth.
Despite curb-stomping Andre Gurode in one of the ugliest on-field incidents in NFL history, multiple road rage cases and refusing to play out his $100 million contract in Washington, Haynesworth finds himself playing for one of the NFL's best teams—the New England Patriots.
While Haynesworth has not done much on the field for the Patriots, he must have shown enough during the preseason to keep his roster spot. The Patriots would not be keeping Haynesworth around if he did not warrant a roster spot.
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No player has ever made more of a second chance in the NFL than Michael Vick. When Vick returned to the NFL after serving time for his role in the infamous Bad Newz Kennels, he was one of the league's most vilified players.
NFL fans did not want to see Vick succeed.
It took Vick a full season to have an impact with the Philadelphia Eagles, but when finally given a chance to start, the results were spectacular.
Never known for his throwing ability, Vick has blossomed into more than just a runner. In Andy Reid's pass-happy offense, Vick has become one of the NFL's most dangerous downfield passers.
The only thing that may hold Vick back is the pounding he takes on a regular basis. The Eagles must find a way to keep Vick upright and on the field.