Michael Vick: Atlanta Falcons Legend Officially Retires from NFL

Michael Vick, the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback, is officially retiring from the NFL as his former team is set to play the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl on Sunday.

Mike Vick told ESPN‘s Josina Anderson on Friday that he is officially retired from the NFL. Vick said he is officially ready to move on to different facets of his life. Vick said that seeing his favorite players and coaches as spectators summed it all up for him.

Michael Vick retires from the NFL as his former team playsSuper Bowl XLI
Former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick retires from the NFL before Super Bowl XLI [Image by John Bazemore]

Earlier in the week, the Former Falcons quarterback hinted at possibly retiring via an interview with Sports Illustrated. Vick said he was content with his career and looking forward to the future. He also said he wanted to stay connected with football as a broadcaster or coach.

Moreover, the Falcons legend talked about his relationship with current Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, who inherited the starting Falcons job as the 2008 No. 3 overall NFL Draft pick while Vick was in prison. Vick also touched on his relationship with Falcons owner Arthur Blank and his fandom for the current Falcons playing in the Super Bowl.

It was also reported that Vick was hosting an official NFL retirement party with guests like Gucci Mane.

Furthermore, Vick penned a letter to the city of Atlanta via The Players’ Tribune. In the letter, Vick dispelled the myth that there is tension between him and the franchise.

Vick said he was passionately rooting for the Falcons this season as well as quarterback Matt Ryan. Michael said he has been a fan of the team this season. He pumps his fist for touchdowns and crosses his fingers on field goal attempts.

Moreover, Vick said he wanted to write a letter to the city of Atlanta because he would be nothing without the the city supporting him during his time there.

In his heart, Vick said he will always be a member of the Falcons. Hence, he will be at Super Bowl XLI in Houston. Michael Vick will not be raising the trophy or under center like he always dreamed, but he said he will be watching and praying as if he was still an Atlanta Falcon.

Vick also wrote about his influence on hip hop culture during his time in Atlanta, as well as his significance as a black running quarterback in the 2000s. Vick gave young kids a role model that looked and played like them, which helped pave the way for spread quarterbacks in today’s NFL.

Mike Vick also wrote that people still talk to him about his dominance in Madden games during that era. Vick had an explosive combination of arm strength and speed in those games. He had it in real life, too.

Check out some of his top highlights in this tweet from NFL:

Clearly, Vick is one of the most polarizing players in NFL history.

Nonetheless, rumors about Vick’s retirement had already surfaced before the season. He had tried to make a comeback by working out with a personal trainer and quarterbacks coach, per ESPN. However, he had also said that 2016 would be his final shot at landing on an NFL roster. It never happened and Vick seems ready to put the league behind him.

Vick, 36, last played with the Falcons in 2006 due to him serving a 21-month federal prison sentence for running a dog-fighting ring. Vick’s six seasons with the Falcons included two playoff appearances and one trip to the 2004 NFC Championship Game. Vick eventually got cut by the Falcons after details surfaced about his case.

However, the 2001 No. 1 overall NFL Draft pick has come into the spotlight this week. His Falcons are playing in the Super Bowl stage and Vick is finally getting embraced by the team.

Atlanta finally invited him back to the Georgia Dome as a guest for the Falcons’ final regular season game on Jan. 1. The team opens a brand new stadium next fall.

Vick’s troubled past almost made him miss the event entirely. Some online petition got thousands of signatures to ban him from the Georgia Dome appearance.

NFL retirement is offical for Michael Vick
Former Atlanta Falcons players Roddy White, left, and Michael Vick are seen during halftime of an NFL football game between the Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints [Image by John Bazemore/AP Images]

Still, fans cheered wildly as Vick made his appearance with former teammate Roddy White. Falcons owner Arthur Blank called him an important player in the team’s history.

Vick started 35 games over three seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles. This included being named the 2010 AP Comeback Player of The Year, which came after only a season removed from prison. Mike also made three starts for the New York Jets in 2014 and the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2014.

The four-time Pro Bowler concludes his 13-season career with 133 passing touchdowns and 22,464 passing yards. Mike Vick also racked up 36 rushing touchdowns and 6,109 rushing yards. He is the NFL’s all-time leading rusher among quarterbacks by more than 1,000 yards.

Would Michael Vick change his mind about retirement if another NFL team called him for training camp next season? Will the Atlanta Falcons retire his No. 7 jersey one day?

To be determined.

Either way, it appears Vick is ready to retire from the NFL and he plans to cheer for the Falcons versus the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLI on Sunday.

[Featured Image by John Bazemore/AP Images]