Goodell proud of the way Vick has turned his life around
Count NFL commissioner Roger Goodell among those who are proud of Michael Vick and the way he has turned his life around.
Vick is the biggest newsmaker in the league right now following his six-touchdown performance on Monday night in a thrashing of the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field. Goodell, obviously, was instrumental in Vick’s return to the league following an 18-month stint in federal prison for his role in a dogfighting ring.
Now, Vick will be on the main stage this week as the Eagles prepare to host the New York Giants on Sunday night in the nationally televised NBC game. First place is at stake in the NFC East.
“There is a big message in what Michael is doing," Goodell told Gary Myers of the New York Daily News. "He's a superstar athlete who everyone thought had everything in the world. He fell from grace tragically by making some horrific mistakes, paid a significant price, worked his way back in and now he's being successful. It demonstrates to me to get to these young men earlier and work with them and make them understand their responsibility making decisions that will define them for a period of time."
Goodell’s primary concerns for Vick surrounded his actions off the field and away from the game.
“I'm proud of how he has responded,” Goodell said. “There are so many examples in our society of failure, people falling short. We need more success stories. I'm hoping Michael Vick will be a success story. People need to see that. People need to be inspired by that - a person made a tragic error and he's overcome it.
"It's a good lesson. There is not anybody out there who has not made mistakes."
Interestingly, Goodell remains in regular contact with Vick via phone calls and text messages.
“It is everything from encouragement to guidance. He's called me for guidance on certain things," Goodell said. "I've called him about certain things. I let him know that I care and want him to succeed. He's probably so much more satisfied and comfortable with his life right now. He's getting married next spring. He's got children. He's doing all the right things."
Obviously, Vick is going to remain under the microscope. He will be a free agent at the conclusion of this season and the 30-year-old knows what is at stake for him in his career at this point. Until then, there is plenty of football left to be played and the Eagles are in a position few figured they would be in at this point.
Vick slipped up this summer with the misguided party in Virginia Beach where tickets were sold for his birthday bash. Ultimately, no trouble came of it for him, but he needs to continue to lead a smart life away from the field.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune