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Star Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick's promising career has been tainted by illegal activities including involvement in an illegal dog-fighting ring.
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Born in Newport News, Virginia, on June 26, 1980, quarterback Michael Vick showed early talent and drew NFL attention while playing for Virginia Tech. Drafted by the Atlanta Falcons, he seemed to be fulfilling his promise until poor choices and illegal activities suspended his career. He served time in prison for illegal dog fighting before signing on as quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Athlete. Michael Dwayne Vick was born on June 26, 1980, in Newport News, Virginia. The second of four children born to unmarried teenaged parents, Brenda Vick and Michael Boddie, Vick grew up in a tough area of his hometown, a place dominated by drugs and gang activity.
Despite their surroundings, Brenda and Michael, who eventually married, ran a stable household. Michael, a sandblaster at the local shipyard who had played football in his youth, seems to have had a special premonition about his son. According to one account, upon Vick's birth his father cradled him in his arms, took him outside, and held him up toward the nighttime sky. "Behold the only thing greater than yourself," he then said, repeating the words Omoro spoke to his son, Kunta Kinte, in the movie Roots.
Like his father, who gave him his first football at the age of three, Vick showed an early talent for the game. At Warwick High School, Vick grew close to the football team's coach, Tommy Reamon, a former World Football League star. Reamon pushed Vick to work on his passing skills and hit the weight room to add bulk to his skinny frame. Plagued by a weak offensive line, Reamon encouraged Vick to take advantage of his blazing speed by scrambling out of the QB pocket and improvising the team's offense. Vick flourished under his coach's tuteledge and by his senior year, Vick, who throws left but is actually right-handed, was considered one of the top high school quarterbacks in the country.
Turning down an offer to go to Syracuse University, Vick chose to stay closer to home and sign on with Virginia Tech in nearby Blacksburg. There, the highly touted Vick did not disappoint. After redshirting his freshmen year, the 19-year-old quarterback led the Hokies to an undefeated season and a spot in the Sugar Bowl where they fell against Florida State in the national title game. Vick was named the Big East's Offensive Player of the Year, and finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting.
Vick and the Virginia Tech team slipped down in the rankings the following year, but the National Football League scouts drooled at the prospect of seeing the QB—a 6-foot 1-inch, quarterback who could chuck the ball 80 yards—on the pro stage. His athletic prowess even caught the attention of Major League Baseball, and in the 2000 MLB draft the Colorado Rockies selected Vick in the 30th round, this despite the fact that he hadn't even played the game since he was 14.
Vick, however, didn't give baseball a serious thought. Instead he bypassed the final two years of college to play in the NFL. In desperate need of a quarterback and a star, the Atlanta Falcons traded up to the No.
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