After 13 active NFL seasons, which exclude his infamous two years suspended from the game and incarcerated for his involvement in a dog fighting ring, Michael Vick has declared himself officially retired from pro football.
Vick's exit from the game, which comes following a year on hiatus, was formally announced by ESPN's Josina Anderson on Friday, February 3. Fans will recall Vick looking to make a splash in the league again when he got an opportunity to start in Ben Roethlisberger's place when the Steelers quarterback went down mid-2015. But his opportunity was short lived, as he himself got injured a couple of games into his fill-in role. What many fans may not know is that up until the beginning of the current season, Vick still felt the calling to return for one last comeback, but it was not meant to be.
The timing of Vick's departure is uncanny considering it comes days before the team that drafted him and supported his rise through his first six seasons in the NFL competes for a chance to win it all in the Super Bowl. Vick never did bring his Atlanta Falcons to the big game. But his highlight reel ability no doubt drew the attention of fans from around the country and teams around the league on a weekly basis. Vick was a Pro Bowler for half of the seasons in which he played in the Georgia Dome.
Vick's return to football after his absence during the 2007 and 2008 seasons proved that for as long as youth was on his side, his ability could help him adapt to shine among the best in the game. In 2010 he made a full return, starting 12 games and leading the Philadelphia Eagles to the playoffs on the strength of his 21 passing touchdowns and nine rushing TD's, in what would be one of his finest seasons. It can be argued that his skills didn't necessarily decline, as he continued to show flashes of brilliance over the next several seasons, but his production certainly slowed down, until he was gone from the Eagles and relegated to a backup role on the Jets in 2014, before making his final stop in Pittsburgh.
With 6,109 rushing yards to his name, he goes down as the most successful rushing quarterback of all-time, and a pioneer who would entice future teams who've sought to build around a dual-threat passer/runner.