Last March, Mike Vick's option was picked up by the Philadelphia Eagles. Since the Birds still had Donovan McNabb and Kevin Kolb on the roster, the move was a puzzling one that appeared to be less a real commitment to a backup Wildcat specialist than a nice gesture by an organization seeking a little trade leverage. So then Vick went on Spike TV's Pros Vs. Joes.
At the time, Vick still spoke wistfully of being a "starter in the NFL again." His people had reached out to PVJ in summer 2009, shortly after Vick's release from prison. It was a logical choice. By going on Spike TV he could appear in a football context, make some easy cash, not have to talk about dogs or rape stands, and maybe rebuild his public image just a little — even if it meant being touted as "the most controversial player in the NFL" in the promo reel.
Anyone hoping to see the slashing, dashing, slick, deceptive, strong-armed Vick of old times were in for a shocking surprise. He didn't use his height advantage or mobility while throwing the football. He often ran with two left feet and was easily tackled while running. He was pushed around when he attempted to play defense. It was sad to see.
But there were some positive signs. I spoke with a Spike TV rep, and in his description, Vick sounds like a guy almost desperate to regain his old life.
He actually really struggled with his timing, he was definitely rusty as far as pass accuracy goes when he had to toss to Isaac Bruce in one episode. He had to play both ways and, what struck all of us, was how aggressive he was as a defender in laying his body out to make tackles -– he got on the field and was going full speed during a pretty much recreational game.
Here's some of the footage, shot last March, with Mike Vick looking more like a paycheck-collecting onetime star sliding down the wrong end of his career slope than what he is today — the Best Player In The Universe Ever.