Michael Vick became an NFL legend by eluding defenders that were trying to stop him. With his playing days now over Vick doesn’t run away from his past as he candidly shares his life story around the country while making an appearance at First Baptist Church of Glenarden’s Mighty Men of Valor national conference.
Vick was the featured speaker during a 45-minute session during the final day of the weekend conference designed to promote leadership amongst African American men. Dressed in V7, his new clothing line, with moderator – and Christian contemporary radio personality Willie Moore, Jr. – Vick captivated the audience without preaching but communicating a message that spoke to generations as part of this faith based initiative.
“I get the chance to wake up every day and work on being better,” Vick told the crowd.
Soft spoken and thoughtful, Vick brought a message of leadership and responsibility to young men who can still relate to his digital charisma. He’s frank about the mistakes of the past that derailed his chance to win a NFL championship or add to the legend of his playing days that could have led to a place in history amongst the greatest of all time instead of becoming merely an icon of his generation.
He echoed the sentiments of those who watched his demise in Atlanta by freely admitting that he didn’t work hard enough to take full advantage of his skill set as quarterback of the Falcons. Vick acknowledged that he wasn’t focused on being great as a professional athlete time and that immature pre-occupations with marijuana, video games and dog fighting, kept him from reaching goals that would have added to his legend on the field.
In Atlanta I was the last one to practice and the first one to leave,” said Vick. “After practice, I kept a joint in the car and was in a rush to get home to play Madden with the fellas all the time. I could’ve left the game with a [Super Bowl championship] ring on my finger if I had truly been committed.”
Vick said that it was his penchant for marijuana while waiting for his trial for dog fighting that derailed his career. He conceded that his decision to smoke by justifying it to himself because of “stress” cost him. Initially his sentence was only supposed to be for 13 months after his conviction but due to his decision he had to serve 18 which kept him off the field longer and he was never the same player again.
“I went away from God’s plan and a sense of arrogance set in,” Vick said. “When God has a plan for your life you’ve got follow what he would have you do.”
Now a devoted family man – with a wife and four kids – Vick uses analogies from his playing days to serve as examples of how men should be leaders in their homes.
“Sometimes you’ve got to have a family huddle,” said Vick. “You’ve got to come together and address what needs to be done and set the plan to make it happen.”
As an NFL analyst for Fox Sports, Vick is preparing to cover the upcoming NFL draft coverage. He understands the perception that 2017 Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Lamar Jackson faces as an athlete whose game many have compared to his.
“Lamar Jackson has to be patient. As a quarterback you’ve got to listen and stay ready to play,” said Vick. “You may play one game and then not get on the field for two years. He’s got a high upside especially if he’s gets with the right offensive coordinator.”