Quarterback Michael Vick said Buffalo and Cincinnati initially seemed like better opportunities than Philadelphia after he was released following nearly two years in federal prison.
“I think I can say this now, because it’s not going to hurt anybody’s feelings, and it’s the truth ... I didn’t want to come to Philadelphia,” Vick told GQ.
While the Eagles had Donovan McNabb and Kevin Kolb, the Bengals and Bills presented better opportunities to play, and potentially earn the starting job. Buffalo had Trent Edwards and Ryan Fitzpatrick, although the Bengals are a curious mention considering the presence of Carson Palmer at the time.
“Being the third-team quarterback is nothing to smile about,” Vick told the magazine. “Cincinnati and Buffalo were better options.”
However, a meeting with Commissioner Roger Goodell and other representatives helped convince Vick that Philadelphia was the right situation.
“And I commend and thank them, because they put me in the right situation,” Vick said.
He credits the Eagles for not trying to change him, and allowing him to develop into an elite quarterback.
The story was written by Will Leitch, who also talked to Vick about the dogfighting ring that ultimately landed him in prison for 21 months.
“(The media is) writing as if everyone feels that way and has the same opinions they do. But when I go out in public, it’s all positive, so that’s obviously not true ... You got the family dog and the white picket fence, and you just think that’s all there is,” said Vick. “Some of us had to grow up in poverty-stricken urban neighbourhoods, and we just had to adapt to our environment. I know that it’s wrong. But people act like it’s some crazy thing they never heard of. They don’t know.”
In an excerpt of the interview leaked to Deadspin, Leitch asked Vick if white people don’t understand that aspect of black culture.
“I think that’s accurate,” Vick responded. “I mean, I was just one of the ones who got exposed, and because of the position I was in, where I was in my life, it went mainstream. A lot of people got out of it after my situation, not because I went to prison but because it was sad for them to see me go through something that was so pointless, that could have been avoided.”