Former Falcons quarterback Michael Vick and wide receiver Roddy White were humbled and appreciative of the franchise’s honoring them as retired former team members on Monday.
“He was like a god in Atlanta,” White said of Vick, who ruled over the city for six brief seasons while helping to make the franchise respectable.
Vick was elated to recognized in the ceremony, even though he will not officially retire as a Falcon. He also was appreciative with the notion that he’ll be considered for the team’s Ring of Honor.
“I plan to help young men with decision-making,” Vick said of his future plans.
In a ceremony in his Buckhead offices, Falcons owner Arthur Blank thanked both of the players for their contributions. Blank said that his family foundation was dedicated to giving second and third chances and had no problems with honoring Vick, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 NFL draft. He went to federal prison for his role in a dogfighting operation in 2007.
Following two years away from football, Vick returned to play with the New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers.
Vick’s Atlanta highlight was guiding the Falcons to the NFC Championship game after the 2004 regular season. During his tenure, he electrified the fan base, energized the team and sold out the Georgia Dome.
Vick fell out of favor during the dogfighting case and eventually pleaded guilty to federal charges in August 2007. He was suspended from the NFL for a violation of the league’s personal-conduct policy. He served 21 months in prison and two months in home confinement.
Vick was a three-time Pro Bowler with the Falcons. He also guided the Falcons to a historic playoff victory on the road over the Green Bay Packers after the 2002 season.
White, the Falcons’ all-time leading receiver, announced his retirement in April. He was released by the team after the 2016 season and did not sign with another team last season.
White, who will join the football coaching staff at Johns Creek High School, was selected by the Falcons in the first round (27th overall) of the 2005 NFL draft from UAB. After a slow start, White developed into the franchise’s most prolific receiver during the league’s evolution into a more pass-oriented league.
White amassed 808 catches, 10,863 yards and 63 touchdowns over 11 seasons with the Falcons.