Michael Vick says he is officially retiring from the NFL.
“In this moment right now, I’m willing to say yeah, I’m officially retired,” Vick told ESPN’s Josina Anderson. “I think it’s time. I think going through the 2016 season without playing and being able to be a spectator and watch the game and enjoy it from afar and root for a lot of the players and coaches I once played for, I think kind of summed all it all up for me.
“So now I think I’m officially ready, I’m ready to move on to different things in my life and different facets of my life.”
The No. 1 overall pick in 2001 of the Atlanta Falcons, Vick balled out for six years in the ATL, leading the franchise to to the NFC Championship Game in 2004. His combination of a rifle-arm and unique speed and running ability was unlike any the league had ever seen.
His career was put on hold due to a 21-month federal prison sentence for running a dogfighting ring, and the Falcons moved on from the Vick era in 2008 when they drafted Matt Ryan out of Boston College.
Vick went on to make the Pro Bowl while playing for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2010 and finished his career with one-year stints playing for the Jets in 2014 and the Steelers in 2015.
He wrote a letter earlier this week via The Players’ Tribune website, telling the folks in Atlanta that he remained a fan and supporter of the franchise that drafted him out of Virginia Tech.
“A lot of people are surprised when they find out how passionately I’ve been rooting for the Falcons this season,” he wrote. “They assume that there is some sort of tension between us, some level of bitterness. And even when I tell people that it isn’t the case … I have a feeling they may not exactly believe me.”
Team owner Arthur Blank called him “…an important player in our history,” during a halftime ceremony at the team’s final game in the Georgia Dome.
Vick accumulated 133 passing touchdowns, 36 rushing scores, 22,464 passing yards and 6,109 on the ground. He is the NFL’s all-time leading rusher among quarterbacks.