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American football quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons; formerly a two-year starter (1999-2000) at Virginia Tech.

Vick grew up in Newport News, Virginia, part of the talent-rich Hampton Roads area of Virginia. (HR's honor roll of NFL stars to come out of HR includes players like Lawrence Taylor, Bruce Smith, Jim Kelly and Plaxico Burress.) Vick played 3 of his 4 high school seasons (after post-freshman year redistricting) under the tutelage of Warwick High School's long-time coach Tommy Reamon. Vick was somewhat overshadowed in his HS career by Hampton (later North Carolina) QB Ronald Curry, who had a similar athletic style of play, and had the advantage of a virtual all-star selection of teammates. (Hampton coach Mike Smith is notorious for recruiting star players to move into his district.) Vick accepted the scholarship offered by VT coach Frank Beamer, and redshirted during the 1998 season while learning the playbook and working out under VT strength-and-conditioning guru Mike Gentry.

As a redshirt college freshman in the 1999 season, he finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting and led the Virginia Tech Hokies to the national championship game, the (4 January 2000) Sugar Bowl. Although doubters remained before the game (most of whom hadn't watched him play), his performance in this game opened their eyes, leading Tech back to a third-quarter lead despite special teams breakdowns and a somewhat struggling defense. Although he was preceded in the running quarterback mold by players like Donovan McNabb, Randall Cunningham, and his childhood idol Steve Young, his combination of both running and passing skills led the media to trumpet him as the beginning of a new era at the QB position.

He was on the cover of nearly every college football magazine heading into the 2000 season. Unfortunately, a gang-tackle in the Pittsburgh game on 28 October left him with a sprained left ankle and essentially ended his Heisman hopes; he made only a brief, ineffective appearance in the 4 November Miami game and completely missed Central Florida on 11 November. Vick came back and had his best game of the year against arch-rival Virginia 25 November (in what would be his last game in Lane Stadium), then capped off the season with an MVP performance in the 2001 Gator Bowl against Clemson.

A week after the Gator Bowl, worried about potential further college injuries impacting his pro career, and feeling that his skills were stagnating in the relatively simple VT offense, Vick announced his intention to enter the 2001 NFL draft. The Atlanta Falcons traded several players plus their first-round pick to the San Diego Chargers for the #1 overall selection, which they used to select Vick.

Vick spent the 2001 season as a backup to Chris Chandler, learning the speed of the pro game and occasionally coming in as a change of pace versus Chandler's slow-footed, pocket-passer style. After the season, Falcons coach Dan Reeves decided to bet the house on Vick's readiness after assessing his performance in a couple of late-season starts, and released Chandler.

Some ridiculed Reeves for his confidence, but Vick seemed to view this as another challenge. Vick started 15 of 16 regular-season games in 2002, leading the Falcons to a 9-6-1 record. (The game he missed, a 17-10 win over the New York Jets, was due to an injury suffered against the vicious Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense.) Until the Falcons went on a 1-3 slide to close the season, Vick was under serious consideration for MVP honors; he was generally recognized as the only player any better than mediocre on Atlanta's offense. Vick then led the Falcons to a win on the frozen tundra of Green Bay's Lambeau Field in the wild-card round of the playoffs; the Falcons became the first opposing team ever to win a playoff game at Lambeau. (Vick had shrugged off pregame questions about Green Bay's cold weather by remarking that he played his college ball at Virginia Tech, where it hardly ever got above freezing in the winter.) The Falcons then lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC divisional round.

Ridiculously talented athlete from Newport News, Virginia. Led all of college football in 1999 with a 180.4 quarterback rating as a freshman for the Virginia Tech Hokies. Throws deadly accurate passes from any spot on the field, and when his receivers are covered... he can run with the ball, with 4.25 speed. Would have been the #1 pick in the NFL Draft had he decided to come out. Stayed in school instead. Should have won the Heisman Trophy, but finished behind Ron Dayne, who was given the award for his career performance, and Peter Warrick, a brilliant economist who managed to obtain over $400 in clothing for just under twenty bucks.

Also drafted by the Colorado Rockies to play baseball even though he hasn't played since freshman year of high school.

I’m no big fan of dogs. It’s not that I have anything against them or anything but I guess my attitude towards man’s best friend borders more on a take it or leave it kinda basis.

In Mr. Vick’s case though, I don’t get it and I’m sure some of you out there don’t get it either. In a strange way, I could almost understand his actions if this guy was some ghetto kid who was trying to put food on the table to feed his family. Almost but not quite. But this guy, this guy had the world by the balls and yet he felt the need to squander away his name, money, reputation and possible future in the NFL all just to engage in fighting dogs and betting on the outcome with some of his peeps.

As it stands right now, Mr. Vick represents the apex of all that is wrong with professional sports here in America. The money and the ego are too large and the sense that some of these athletes have that they’re above the rest of us working stiffs is contemptible. Sure, some of you might say steroid abuse is a problem and I’d agree but in the vast majority of cases the only victim of that kind of abuse is the user themselves.

Certainly not some poor fuckin’ dog who has no choice of being thrown into a ring and forced to fight another dog to the death in front of a bunch of greedy motherfuckers who probably stood around liquored up to the gills and laughed their collective asses off while the blood and the fur was flying. If the guys who rolled on Mr. Vick are to be believed, Mr. Vick himself personally executed eight pit bulls who failed in the ring. Many of them, weak and wounded after the fight, were held under water and drowned or hung by the neck from a nearby tree.

Yes, Mr. Vick is a talented quarterback who regularly wreaks havoc on opposing defenses and caused many a defensive coordinator a sleepless night. His ability to scramble and seemingly make something out of nothing was truly remarkable but maybe there was something about his character that needed to be checked before he was put on a pedestal, given millions and millions of dollars in contract money and endorsements and let loose on the playing field. There were some early warning signs on the horizon that might’ve been an indication of the more serious thing to come.

Oh, Mexico
It sounds so simple I just got to go
The suns so hot I forgot to go home
Guess I'll have to go now

Excerpt from James Taylor’s fine tune “Mexico”

First of all there was the “Ron Mexico Incident”. Back in 2005 a woman filed suit against Vick alleging that she had contracted genital herpes from him and that he had known he had the disease yet failed to inform her. The woman’s attorney further alleged that Mr. Vick had visited several clinics under the alias of “Ron Mexico” to get treatment for the disease. The suit was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.

They get the first laugh, I get the last laugh homie
Hit the gas on it, pull up and mash on 'em
There's a lot of talk in the streets about me
Niggaz know, ain't nothing sweet about me

(Excerpt from 50 Cent’s classic children’s song called “Fuck You”

Football is an emotional game. There are a lot of very huge men out there whose physique resembles something like a walking eclipse that would like nothing better than to take your head off and mash it into the turf. With that being said, many players vent their frustrations on the opposing team and in rare cases on members of their own team by getting all up in their face and engage in what is known as trash talking. In very few instances do they take it out on the fans, the ones who cough up their hard earned money to help pay the player's salary and to indulge themselves on a Sunday afternoon.

At a home game while with the Atlanta Falcons, Mr. Vick's team lost a contest to the New Orleans Saints. As the players were leaving the field the fans expressed their disgust by engaging in the time honored tradition of booing the home team. Mr. Vick responded by extending both of his arms in the air and flipping them the bird. He would later be fined ten grand by the NFL and forced to donate another ten grand to a local charity.

Chump change to a guy making millions a year.

Who let the dogs out
(woof, woof, woof, woof)
(woof, woof, woof, woof)
(woof, woof, woof, woof)
(woof, woof, woof, woof)

Uhm, excerpt from something called the Baha Men and their “song” called “Who Let The Dogs Out?”

You just knew that was coming now didn’t you? If any of you now have that song stuck in your head, I apologize.

In April of this year a criminal investigation was set in motion when evidence of organized dog fighting showed up on one of Mr. Vick's properties in Virginia. Later in July, Vick and three of his home boys were indicted by a federal grand jury under charges of dog fighting and gambling on the outcome over the previous six year period. The venture was known as Bad Newz Kennels and operated across state lines. Soon after Mr. Vick was arraigned, corporate sponsors such as Nike, Reebok, NFL Shops and trading card companies withdrew Vick-related products from retail sale.

Soon after the charges were filed, Mr. Vick was asked not to report to the Atlanta Falcons training camp in preparation for NFL’s 2007/8 season.

Two of his co-defendants have already copped a plea and rolled over on Vick as the sponsor and major financier of Bad Newz Kennels. Vick himself has yet to decide if he is going to plead out or face the charges directly. Depending on which way he decides, he'd be looking at up to one year minimum or a maximum of six years if he’s convicted an all charges plus a hefty fine.

I’m willing to bet his NFL career is all but over.

In closing, we could all name a lot more important things than dog fighting that are going on in the world at the drop of hat and maybe as some kind of penance, Mr. Vick should be forced to donate some of his salary to the families of the thirty three kids who were killed and the other twenty nine that were injured during the shootings at his alma mater, Virginia Tech.

I don't see that happening though, Mr. Vick is just one more indication that some people will never be happy with what they have. I guess it’s true what they say. It doesn’t matter how much fame, money or adulation you get, you just can’t buy class.

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