The man who Michael Vick has likened to a father figure will be on the opposite sideline this Sunday. After four years together with the Eagles, Andy Reid is now head coach of the Chiefs and Vick is preparing for his first start as quarterback of the Jets.
It was Reid who undertook a reclamation project with Vick, signing him after his release from prison in 2009 and giving him a chance in the league. It was slow going at first but the highwater mark of their time together came in 2010 when the Vick-led Eagles offense was second in the league and the team finished with a 10-6 record and a playoff berth.
“I love Andy for the man that he is,” Vick said Monday
Reid showed equal love back.
“I joked with our media here that he will be 50 years old and still be the fastest guy on the field and have the best arm on the field,” Reid said Wednesday during his conference call with the New York media. “He’s an amazing guy that way. You never, ever slight Michael Vick.”
Vick posted a 23-29 record as a starter with the Eagles in the regular season.
He is preparing for his first start with the Jets after Geno Smith spent seven weeks finding new ways to lose games. Vick brings a calming presence and veteran guile — something needed as the offensive line continues to struggle.
Reid knows as well as anyone how to maximize Vick, a quarterback who revolutionized the position. It was Reid who saw Vick come back onto the field and lead a playoff team. It was also Reid who saw Vick grow as a man off the field.
“I knew Michael a little bit before all the things happened there. Michael is a good person. People can question that with all the things that went on, but Michael has a big heart and he learned some things during that time and that’s the important part,” Reid said. “People get in trouble. You want them to figure it out and come out on the better side of it. I think we all do. I think we all want that. Thank goodness we’re in America where people are relatively forgiving. He worked to better himself, and then he also did the same thing on the football field. He did that as a person and then he had a lot of time to think about what he could do to be a better football player. So he went back and that’s the way he attacked things on the football field. That’s a tribute to him as a person. That wasn’t an easy thing for him. He worked through it as a person.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.