By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Michael Vick spoke at a seminar for NFL rookies titled “Are You Bigger Than The Game,” and warned the first-year players of some of the trappings that he fell victim to.
“As I sat in a prison cell, I understood why I was in there. That’s bad. You don’t want to end up that way. True story: I could see it all coming. I could see it happening. I thought about it. I asked myself, ‘Should I stop doing what I was doing?’ And I didn’t stop. That’s having no discipline.”
Vick spoke from the perspective as someone who has made many mistakes, had to pay for them, and lived to tell about it. Eagles head coach Andy Reid said that Michael Vick has worked harder than any player on the team during the off-season, but Vick said that wasn’t always the case.
“I flew home every week when I should have been in the film room getting better,” he said.
Vick told the rookies that one of the most important things they can do is surround themselves with the right people, which he didn’t do in his younger years.
“Everybody makes their own decisions,” Vick said. “Your friend can’t make you do something you really don’t want to do if you’re strong enough to say no.
“The best thing for me to do was going to prison, being able to separate myself. I wasn’t strong enough to get away from them. I wasn’t strong enough to say, ‘We’re not going this direction. I ain’t living like this no more. We can’t condone this type of activity.’ I wasn’t strong enough. I needed the legal system to say, ‘You all can’t be around each other anymore.’ That’s the situation I created.”
Roger Goodell is a name that brings polarized reactions, and Vick’s is of the positive nature. He credits Goodell for giving him a second chance, but did issue a warning.
“Fellas, don’t get it twisted. This man is the real deal. He don’t play. If he asks you a question, answer with honesty. Tell him the truth. If you get into some trouble, be honest, truthful, forthright. Don’t play with this man. He’ll love you to death, but the minute you cross him, he’ll be all the way turned up.”