Michael Vick met the media yesterday to talk about his brand new six-year, $100 million contract (not really), but in reality the discussion ended up being a lot more about life and his personal redemption than just football. And he was clear that this contract was not an endpoint, It's just a beginning and he won't stop working hard just because he got paid.
"Absolutely not. I think if anything it will make me want to work harder, and just to continue to show that I'm worthy of everything that I've gotten. I think back to when I first got here and the commitment that I made to myself and to Andy that I'm going to change. I've always been a guy that's worked hard, and I see the progress that's been made in my career and why I've stopped. It's something that drives and motivates you, and I'm motivated now because I play with such great teammates and we have the opportunity to do something special. I could be on this stage right now and say what they've done for me and the sacrifices that they have made for me last year. I just have to give those guys credit as well because none of this would be possible. We all know how hard to reach certain levels, but through teamwork you make dream work. That's what we've been able to do."
Vick says he never thought this day would come two years ago.
"No, to be honest I never thought this day would come. Again, in my career I just, like I said I wanted to play a game just to prove myself; to this magnitude I didn't think it would happen this way, but that goes to show how much I know. You know, just keep pressing forward and keep believing. I think faith is something that we all have to have at the end of the day. And I'm living proof that if you believe in yourself and commit yourself to doing certain things, you can do them. And it's all mental, it's all mental. Everything I've been through over the last three or four years of my life has just been a challenge mentally to see how I was going to respond to it, that's how I feel. And I responded in the right way with the help of a lot of people because I couldn't have done it by myself."
Vick says that the ultimate goal is still to bring a Superbowl back to Philadelphia.
"Absolutely, I mean, you play this game to better your craft, to better yourself as a football player. Like I said, that one common goal is to win the Super Bowl, and that's why we play. As a competitor, I don't feel like my career would be complete without that. That's the reason I've worked so hard. I have to give a lot of credit to Andy because everyday he's coached me up. There's always something new. I know I'll never get to a point where I know it all, but he can certainly help me get there 90-percent of the way. That's why I'm appreciative of where I'm at, sitting right here before you, and having the chance to be with this team for another six years."
Finally, I like Andy Reid's Don King-like "only in America" quote.
"Listen, this is a great story all the way through, and this is really what America is all about. Second chance, you know, and Mike took full advantage of that. Then when he was given a second chance at having an opportunity to start in the National Football League, he took again an opportunity there and turned it into this. I would tell you at that time, when he got himself back physically ready to play; I think everybody on the football field and in the stadium knew that he was back. I don't think it was too hard to see."