Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick was chosen the National Football League’s Comeback Player of the Year in his second season after serving a federal prison term for his participation in a dog-fighting ring.
Vick, 30, who was elevated to starting quarterback in the second week of the season, scored 30 touchdowns in 12 games. He led the Eagles to a 10-6 regular season and first place in the National Football Conference East division. Philadelphia lost to the Green Bay Packers in the opening round of the playoffs.
“I’m thankful I have an opportunity to play in this league again,” Vick said in a televised interview from Dallas where the Packers play the Pittsburgh Steelers today in the Super Bowl. “I just want to go out and play football.”
Vick received 29.5 votes from the 50 media representatives who regularly cover the NFL. Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Mike Williams was second with eight points. The Associated Press compiled the ballots.
Vick completed 62.6 percent of his passes for 3,018 yards and 21 touchdowns, all career highs. He also rushed for 676 yards and nine touchdowns. Vick’s 6.7 yards per rush were best in the league among players with at least 100 attempts.
Once the highest-paid player in the league when he was with the Atlanta Falcons, Vick was described as “cruel and reprehensible” by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for participating a ring in which dogs that lost fights were drowned, hanged, shot or electrocuted.
In April 2007, he took part in the killing of eight animals, one of which was dispatched by slamming it into the ground, his criminal indictment said.
Three months after his release in May 2009, he signed a two-year deal with the Eagles, and after serving a league-imposed suspension, returned to the field for the first time since 2006.
“I’ve come a long way,” Vick said. “I hate to live in the past. I want to go forward. Everything happens for a reason.”