Metro’s Sports Figure of the Year: Michael Vick

You don’t have to like Michael Vick. But you do have to respect what he’s doing right now on the football field.

Less than two years removed from a stint in federal prison for dogfighting, Vick is slowly becoming the face of the NFL once again. A recent TV commercial for a New Jersey car dealership is drawing rave reviews, and his jersey is the No. 1 seller over the past four weeks, according to Forbes.com.

Question is, is it too soon to embrace him?

“I can’t control what people talk about, but I can make sure I do all the right things,” Vick said. “I’m not a psychopath. I’m not crazy. I’m a human being.”

So far, fans seem willing to forgive. The Eagles quarterback finished second in Pro Bowl voting, and his MVP candidacy gains more steam with each electrifying run. After he torched the New York Giants in an improbable fourth-quarter comeback, LeBron James tweeted, “@MikeVick=MVP.”

Ask Vick’s teammates, and it’s a no-brainer.

“I’m a fan,” said kicker David Akers. “I get a front-row seat every week.”

He’s making plays once reserved only for video games, while single-handedly turning the Eagles into a trendy Super Bowl pick. During off-days, Vick often speaks at local schools about the bad choices he’s made.

“I’ve been to the bottom, and I’m just trying to rise like the phoenix,” Vick said. “If I can do that, if I can persevere throughout all of the bad things that I’ve been through and all of the bad places I’ve been to, then I think things will be OK.”

Vick’s road to redemption is also shattering records in the TV ratings, where an unprecedented 19.1 million viewers watched his Eagles beat the Cowboys two weeks ago. So sit back and enjoy the show. Vick is.

“I’m having fun,” he said. “I feel good about where I am right now in my life and in football.”


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