Some people find it sad where Michael Vick‘s career has ended up. Others marvel that he’s still in the league at all. At the same time, many people still hate his guts.
The QB’s involvement in a dog fighting operation is an unforgivable offense in the eyes of some. But there’s also a good amount of people who have forgiven him for his terrible mistakes. There’s no doubt he’s moved on, and thus far he hasn’t made one wrong move since his stint in the slammer. It’s hard to argue that he hasn’t proven worthy of a his second chance.
Vick’s former teammate, Riley Cooper, knows all about second chances.
It was about a year ago that the WR came under intense scrutiny for using a racial slur on a concert video that went viral. His hideous language was unforgivable in the eyes of many of his Philadelphia Eagles teammates, but not to Vick.
If you’ll remember, it was Vick who first stood up for Cooper after the incident. He was the first Eagles player to come out and say that while he obviously didn’t agree with the use of the slur, he forgave his teammate. Because if there’s anyone who knows about forgiveness and second chances, it’s the veteran QB.
In an update to that story from 2013, Vick is now calling his move to stand up for Cooper “the best thing he’s ever done as a professional athlete.”
However, he also made a statement that leads you to believe that Cooper isn’t as appreciative of his gesture as maybe he should be:
“I just hope he’s (appreciative) of my boldness to step out in front of the world and say what I said, and he appreciates what I did and understands the magnitude of it, because nobody else was going to step up and say anything…A couple of things transpired since that I dislike, and I’ll be honest with you, after he signed his contract, I sent him a text and I never got a text back, and that made me feel a certain type of way. But I’m not the type of guy who holds grudges,” Vick told ESPN.com.
Either way, regardless of Vick and Cooper’s current relationship, the point is that Vick stepped out on a limb for his former teammate. It’s a limb that he may not have stepped out on without his own experiences with second chances. You could even say he ‘payed it forward’ with his boldness. Getting in the middle of that extremely touchy situation required a lot of courage, and also a person who the other players respected.
The 34-year old seems content to be a backup/veteran leader at this juncture of his career. If his number is called this season, you know he’ll still be able to get it done at a fairly high level on the field. But perhaps his greatest value at this point is teaching the young guys to do things the right way, both on and off the field.