Eagles quarterback Michael Vick was interviewed by Bob Costas for a segment on NBC's "Football Night in America" that airs before tonight's Eagles-Giants game. Here are excepts of the interview released by NBC:
Costas on Vick’s time away from the game: It turns out your better than ever. What’s the reason?
Vick: I was one of the ones who was thinking, man, am I still going to have it? Am I still going to have the elusiveness, the speed, the mobility? Just having a year to sit was probably the biggest thing to ever happen to me.
Costas: What was the darkest moment for you at Leavenworth?
Vick: The darkest moments were just not being able to go home every day…It’s like you’re trapped. There’s nowhere to go. Every night before I went to bed, I always prayed that something would happen that would expedite the process of me getting out. But it never did and I think that taught me patience.
Costas: Was there some pivot point where the light went on in your head? You’re in the midst of this experience because of your own actions but where you said to yourself, ‘Wait a minute. I get it now or at least I think I get it now.’
Vick: I said that about four or five months of being there and then I realized I wasn’t going home for another 13 months…Even after the first day I felt like I had learned my lesson. It only takes for them to slam the doors on you one time for you to know that ‘Look, this is serious. I can’t live my life this way. I’m not supposed to be here. I’ll do better.’ After four or five months, I started to get comfortable in that environment and I had to pinch myself and say ‘I’m not supposed to be here.’ I should be at home with my family or in somebody’s training camp right now. That really put things in perspective of what I had done and the consequences I had to suffer. It cut me deep and it hurt. I had to get through that to make me the person I am today.
Costas: What was it like when Tony Dungy walked through the doors?
Vick: When Tony first walked through the door, I just wanted to give him the biggest hug…We had an open dialogue about everything. I left that meeting with a sense of security that I could go home and feel positive about certain things that were going to take place in my life.
Costas: We know the way sports and celebrity in America work at least for some people. If you play well and stay out of trouble, at least conspicuous trouble, that’s redemption. But real redemption may mean something more than that. What does it mean to you?
Vick: Redemption is doing the right thing all across the board. It’s easy to talk the talk and say, ‘Yeah. I’m going to be here speaking to this group of kids or I’m going to work with the Humane Society.’ You’ve got to do it and you’ve got to be consistent about it. You just can’t be doing it just for perception. It takes time. I think my life was always going to be a work in progress. I’m just going to continue to chase success, on and off the field. I think if I do that, I think redemption will come.
Costas: In Atlanta, your reputation was last guy in the building, first guy out. You had a lot of talent. You probably didn’t do all you could have to maximize that talent.
Vick: Yeah. This time around, I just wanted to work harder than I ever worked before, not shortchange myself. I didn’t put in the hard work and the time and the effort. I didn’t dedicate myself the way I do now.
Costas: Do you feel like you cheated the Atlanta organization?
Vick: In so many ways, I do. I feel like I cheated the organization. I didn’t give them my all. I gave them everything on the field, 100 percent, but sometimes that’s not enough.
Costas: The Giants have knocked five quarterbacks out this year. Are you mindful of that?
Vick: I’m very mindful of it which is more the reason why I’m going to try and stay away from those guys. We know the type of pressure they bring. We know how ferocious they can be on third downs. We just have to take care of those guys up front.
Costas: Even I can see, when you step up in the pocket, the linebackers are in that moment of hesitation.
Vick: Nine times out of 10 now, I don’t feel like running the ball. I’d rather get it out of my hands, get it downfield. Back in the day, four or five years ago, I felt like I rushed everything. Now, I’ve learned patience. I think it helped me tremendously.
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