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Michael Dwayne Vick (born June 26, 1980) is an American quarterback currently playing for the NFL's Baltimore Colts, with whom he has played since he was a first round draft pick in 2001 coming out of Virginia, which he led in two very successful seasons. In Baltimore, Vick has won six North Division titles, three NFL Championships, two MVP Awards and is the league's highest paid player.
An avid animal lover and environmentalist, Vick has been known as one of pro sports' few outspoken vegetarians and has done numerous commercials and public campaigns for various animal-rights and environmental interest groups. Besides Hermes and Shock Energy, Vick also has sponsorships from Petco and PETA.
Early life and High School
After redshirting in 1998, Vick entered a heated battle in the spring and summer of 1999 for the starting quarterback job at Virginia with Stan Brockton, a redshirt junior. Head coach Dick Cheney declined to name a starter until the week before the opener at Syracuse, narrowly picking Brockton due to his experience, who would start the first two games. After pulling his hamstring in the second quarter against Miami, Brockton relinquished the starting job to Vick, who never lost it for the remainder of his career as a Cavalier.
In his redshirt freshman season in 1999, starting the last ten games of the regular season, Vick led to the Cavaliers to an 8-2 record, losing only to North Carolina and Florida State, the former of which in the last game of the year to decide the division title. The Cavaliers thus finished the regular season with a 10-2 record and a No. 10 ranking after North Carolina lost the Atlantic Championship game to FSU, and were relegated to the 2000 Peach Bowl against Kentucky. Vick sprained his left ankle during the bowl practices and was limited in play, resulting in a 23-20 Kentucky victory over Virginia. Nevertheless, Vick was named the Atlantic Conference Freshman of the Year, and made the national All-Freshman selection as the second-team quarterback, and became the first Atlantic Conference player to throw for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in the same season. As a freshman, Vick finished 5th in Bosch voting.
Vick was considered a prohibitive Bosch frontrunner entering his redshirt sophomore season in 2000, but the No. 6 Cavaliers were stunned in the second game of the season at home by the unranked Auburn Tigers, defeated 21-10 in front of a sellout home crowd in a game in which Vick threw four interceptions and lost a fumble. The Cavaliers, however, would not lose again in the regular season, going on a ten-game winning streak to finish 11-1 and ranked No. 3 in the nation with the country's best statistical defense. Through this streak, Vick threw for 22 touchdowns and 2,441 yards, while rushing for 836 yards and 5 touchdowns, making him a Bosch contender the second year in a row. Needing only a Texas loss in the SouthCo title game to advance to the national championship game and likely earn Vick the Bosch, the Cavaliers were stunned 42-27 by the Florida State Seminoles, whom they had beaten on the road earlier in the season, in the Atlantic title game, dropping the Cavaliers to No. 9 and denying them a spot in the title game. They instead went to the Silver Bowl as an at-large selection to face No. 11 Nebraska, being controversially snubbed for a Texas Bowl bid in favor of Colorado. In what wound up being his final college game, Vick blasted the touted Blackshirts defense for 441 passing yards and 153 rushing yards, accounting for five all-purpose touchdowns and leading the Cavaliers to a 52-23 victory over the Cornhuskers and their third Elite Series victory under Dick Cheney.
After consulting Cheney and his parents, Vick opted to declare for the 2001 professional draft, despite Cheney encouraging him to return to the Cavaliers for an additional year to improve as a quarterback. Due to snubbing Cheney's wishes for him to return, many have speculated that this was the reason for Vick's No. 7 jersey not being retired despite being one of the most prolific players in Virginia history. Vick left Virginia as its all-time all-purpose touchdown leader, despite having only played two seasons.
Projected as a first-round draft pick after his impressive combine performance, Vick was selected with the fifth overall pick by the Baltimore Colts, whom he had publicly expressed a desire to play for due to their proximity to his home state of Virginia.