Eagles quarterback Mike Vick played an important role in letting the newest members to the NFL fraternity know about what an incredible opportunity they have in a session called “Are You Bigger Than the Game?” at the Rookie Symposium on Monday.
Vick was very open about the realities he faced due to poor decision making that nearly ended his career. He knows that he got what he deserved. Per NFL.com, Vick told the young players
I’m a firm believer in God, and I believe in karma. If you do so much, if you cross so many people, if you don’t appreciate what God gave you and the position that you’re in, he’ll take that away from you. And he took it away from me.
As I sat in a prison cell, I understood why I was in there. That’s bad. You don’t want to end up that way. True story: I could see it all coming. I could see it happening. I thought about it. I asked myself, ‘Should I stop doing what I was doing?’ And I didn’t stop. That’s having no discipline.
In his talk, Vick was open about taking his opportunity in the NFL for granted, choosing to fly home to Virginia every week rather than putting in time in the film room each week on days off.
Vick’s experience taught him a tough lesson about being surrounded by the wrong people. He is actually thankful that his time in prison provided him the necessary break from toxic individuals he ran with.
The best thing for me to do was going to prison, being able to separate myself. I wasn’t strong enough to get away from them. I wasn’t strong enough to say, ‘We’re not going this direction. I ain’t living like this no more. We can’t condone this type of activity.’ I wasn’t strong enough. I needed the legal system to say, ‘You all can’t be around each other anymore.’ That’s the situation I created.
In finding more positive people to be around, Vick spoke highly of mentor Tony Dungy and Eagles head coach Andy Reid (who Vick referred to as one of his “best friends”).
Another tangible lesson Vick gave to the rookies? Don’t lie to Roger Goodell. Just don’t.
The full account of Vick’s talk can be found here and is worth the read.
There are many who still believe that there is nothing Mike Vick can do to redeem himself. They are not willing to forgive and that is their choice. To them, Vick shouldn’t have been allowed back in the NFL at alland shouldn’t have any way to make a living. These individuals will say that Vick said these remarks simply for PR purposes.
Well, that’s a heck of a PR firm.
Mike Vick is a man who was forced to confront his shortcomings and his crimes. It was a situation that gave him little choice but to take a hard look at himself and acknowledge his carelessness, immaturity and criminal behavior. Vick knows that the second chance he has received is extraordinary. And he knows it won’t soon happen again for other young men should they find themselves in serious trouble.
So here’s hoping the NFL’s 2012 rookie class takes the easy path and take full advantage of the gift they’ve been given and stay out of trouble. Alright, alright–serious trouble, at least.