Top 50 Falcons: No. 10, Michael Vick

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is counting down the Top 50 players in Atlanta Falcons history during the franchise’s 50th anniversary season. No. 10 is quarterback Michael Vick.

Years played for Falcons: Michael Vick played for the Falcons for six seasons, starting five. During his tenure in Atlanta Vick led the Falcons to two playoff appearances in 2002 and 2004 and was a Pro Bowl selection both seasons along with the 2005 season. While in Atlanta Vick passed for 11,505 yards and 71 touchdowns while also adding 3,859 yards on the ground along with 21 rushing scores. Vick also led the Falcons to one of their most memorable postseason wins in franchise history, a 27-7 win at Lambeau field against Brett Farve and the Packers.

Jersey No.: 7

Michael Vick played his last game for the Falcons in 2006, though he remained on the team until 2009. (AJC)

His impact on the team: Michael Vick electrified football in his years with the Falcons, not only in the city of Atlanta, but also all over the country. The dual threat quarterback brought another dynamic to the game that teams had not seen before. In 2002 Vick set the single game record for most rushing yards by a quarterback against the Vikings totaling 173 yards on the ground. He also became the first player in NFL history to pass for 250 yards and rush for 100 yards in the same game when he did in 2004. Vick’s best season in Atlanta came in 2002 when he led the Falcons to a 9-6-1 record behind nearly 3,000 passing yards and 16 touchdowns to match 777 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground. In 2006, Vick threw for 20 touchdowns. Vick changed the Atlanta fan base during his time in Atlanta and was rewarded with a 10-year $135 million contract in 2004. In 2007, after his infamous dog-fighting scandal occurred, he was suspended by the league and later served 18 months in prison. He did not return to football until 2010 – a three-year layoff – when the Philadelphia Eagles signed the free agent, giving him a second chance.

On spending 18 months in prison: “The first day I walked into prison and he slammed that door, I knew the magnitude of the decision that I made and the poor judgment, and what I allowed to happen to the animals. And, you know, it’s no way of explaining the hurt and the guilt that I felt. And that was the reason I cried so many nights. And that put it all into perspective.” (CBS News)

On relationship with Arthur Blank: "I still communicate with Arthur Blank. That relationship will always be there and I appreciate his friendship." (AJC)

Dan Reeves on Vick: “When looking at the big picture, you’re talking about a quarterback who’s had all the ability in the world, a guy who could’ve accomplished great things. Maybe he still can, but it seems like he’s made it awfully tough on himself.’’ (Statesboro Herald)

Where he is now: Vick, now 35, is a backup quarterback in Pittsburgh for the Steelers. He is in his 13th season in the NFL. After pleading guilty to dog-fighting charges in 2007 Vick spent 548 days behind bars. The Falcons released Vick in 2009 and he would sign with the Eagles in 2010 and win AP NFL Comeback Player of the Year.

The countdown to the Top 50 players in Falcons history runs through the end of the season.

Top 50 Falcons Countdown

50: Chuck Smith

49: Michael Haynes

48: Jonathan Babineaux

47: John Zook

46: Ken Reaves

45: Lynn Cain

44: Justin Blalock

43: Bobby Butler

42: Tim Mazzetti

41: Buddy Curry

40: Scott Case

39: Jeff Merrow

38: Elbert Shelley

37: Matt Bryant

36: Alge Crumpler

35: Michael Turner

34: Ray Buchanan

33: Chris Hinton

32: Terance Mathis

31: Devin Hester

30: Don Smith

29: Greg Brezina

28: Chris Miller

27: John James

26: Bob Whitfield

25: Rolland Lawrence

24: Alfred Jenkins

23: Billy Johnson

22: Chris Chandler

21: Morten Andersen

20: John Abraham

19: George Kunz

18: Jamal Anderson

17: Keith Brooking

16: R.C. Thielemann

15: Tony Gonzalez

14: Andre Rison

13: Julio Jones

12: Roddy White

11: Steve Bartkowski

10: Michael Vick

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