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What was already pretty much assumed is now official. Michael Vick has retired from the NFL, telling ESPN’s Josina Anderson the time has come. Many folks were surprised when this entire season came and went without a team showing interest in Vick, despite some of the lackluster quarterback play we saw around the league.


“In this moment right now, I’m willing to say yeah, I’m officially retired,” Vick told 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.”

With the announcement, it marks the end of career that saw extreme highs and terrible lows. We saw Vick be selected with the first overall pick of the 2001 draft and it was apparent from the start he was going to live up to the hype. There are highlight reels full of Vick just making defenders look silly while bringing respect back to the Falcons. In his six years with the Falcons, he led them to the playoffs twice, making the NFC championship game once.

His prison sentence for dog fighting brought his career in Atlanta to an abrupt end and Vick has since admitted the day the Falcons drafted Matt Ryan while he was in prison felt like rock bottom for him.

Vick was determined to not let his prison time define him and he came out of prison a better man and the Philadelphia Eagles gave him a chance. He didn’t play much in 2009 but wound up becoming the starter in Philly, leading them to the playoffs and making the pro bowl in 2010. His play on the field starting to decline in 2012 and 2013, mainly due to injuries but he was still able to land jobs with the Jets and Steelers in 2014 and 2015, although his tenure with each team wasn’t exactly memorable.

The closest Vick got to a field this past season came in the Falcons’ regular-season finale Jan. 1, when the team invited him back as part of its final regular-season game at the Georgia Dome. Owner owner Arthur Blank called Vick “an important player in our history” and fans cheered him wildly when introduced at halftime.

Vick’s career will always be a tale of “what if” but he made the best of a bad situation that he put himself in and proved that everyone loves a redemption story. We will always have the memories of his electrifying play on the field.