12/24/10 — Andrew -- Mike Vick column

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Andrew -- Mike Vick column

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on December 24, 2010 1:47 PM

No position in sports personifies the importance of decision making like the quarterback.

No player in the NFL is a walking testimony of the importance of decision making like Philadelphia Eagles' quarterback Michael Vick.

Vick, a former Pro Bowl quarterback with the Atlanta Falcons, served 19 months in prison on federal dogfighting charges. After being released from prison in May of 2009, Vick spent last season as Donovan McNabb's backup in Philadelphia. With McNabb traded to Washington, Vick expected to serve as Kevin Kolb's understudy in 2010.

An injury to Kolb led to an opportunity Vick has more than made the most of this season. The embattled signal caller has thrown for 2,755 yards and 20 touchdowns with just five interceptions. Vick has also rushed for 613 yards and eight touchdowns.

Vick ranks in the top 10 in the league in quarterback rating and completion percentage and he currently leads the NFL in Pro Bowl voting. He's also guided Philadelphia to a 10-4 record and first place in the NFC East.

More important than wins, statistics or Pro Bowl votes is the apparent growth Vick has made as a person and as a football player. I don't know Michael Vick, nor have I ever spent time around him.

What I do know is in interviews Vick comes off as a man who has been genuinely humbled by his past. He appears to have learned from his mistakes, grown from them and he seems truly grateful for the second chance he's gotten in Philadelphia.

Vick spends time speaking to youth about the importance of decision making and treating animals with respect. He's spoken openly about coming to understand the importance of leadership and the consequences that come with breaking rules on the football field and in life.

Vick has admitted that during his time in Atlanta he mainly relied on his athletic ability and he spent little time polishing his skills as a quarterback. Film study wasn't a priority and developing as a passer, his main weakness, was an afterthought.

Since signing with the Eagles, Vick has grasped the benefits of film study, learned to read defenses and now relies on his arm as much, if not more, than his legs.

Vick couldn't have found more of a perfect fit in Philadelphia. Head coach Andy Reid has two sons that have both served jail time on drug charges. Reid understands the importance of giving second chances and the relationship he's developed with Vick is closer to father/son than player/coach.

Michael Vick seems to have learned a lifetime's worth of lessons through his mistakes. We could all afford to learn a lesson or two from him, too.