Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick has undoubtedly enjoyed a year of positive headlines and, for all intents and purposes, has been the comeback player of the century.
Vick has gone from rogue and imprisoned player to model citizen almost overnight as he has made all the right steps in his return to the NFL after serving time in federal prison for his role in a dog-fighting scandal. But Vick certainly seemed to veer off the road in a recent interview with GQ magazine in which the former Atlanta Falcon star admits the Philadelphia Eagles weren’t his first choice.
Vick also intimated that he ended up in Philadelphia more because that is where the NFL and its commissioner Roger Goodell wanted him over, say, Cincinnati and Buffalo.
While his reasoning for Philly not being his initial choice may have been rational, coming in as the third-string quarterback behind Donovan McNabb and Kevin Kolb as opposed to coming into either Cincinnati or Buffalo just one step away from the starting spot, it was still an out-of-place statement, for the risk the Eagles took in bringing him aboard when it was far from the popular thing to do.
Realizing this, Vick sought Thursday to explain his statements in GQ.
“I felt it was necessary to put out a statement today clarifying the article in GQ magazine,” Vick said in a statement. “I did speak with many people, but the decision to sign in Philadelphia was based on my discussions with my agent, my family and with Coach Reid. And after those discussions, it became clear to me that this was the place I wanted to play and resume my NFL career.
“The commissioner never told me to sign or not sign with particular teams. Again, I want to make it perfectly clear that this was a decision I made and, as I have said numerous times before, I’m very happy with the way it has worked out for me and my family.”
The NFL also thought it was important to reiterate that it did not steer Vick to the Eagles. If the NFL had done so, then that would certainly create a huge conflict of interest.
"Michael Vick's decision on where to play to put himself in the best position to succeed was entirely his own," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in a statement. "Commissioner Goodell obviously met and spoke to Michael and his representatives as part of his decision on whether to reinstate Michael and on what terms. But the commissioner would never steer players to or away from particular teams and did not do so in this case."
(Photo: GQ, September 2011)