Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, who overcame a dog-fighting scandal that landed him in prison, gave newcomers to the league a speech on accountability at the NFL’s Rookie Symposium.
Vick’s 30-minute seminar, which came a day after Adam (Pacman) Jones, another player with a troubled past, talked to the rookies, was entitled, “Are You Bigger Than The Game?”
During his discussion, Vick opened up about his crimes, his 23-month jail sentence as a result of an ugly dog-fighting scandal, his financial losses and his feelings of getting a second chance after it looked like his career had disappeared.
“Be accountable for everything you do,” Vick told the rookies and Sirius XM’s Ross Tucker in Aurora, Ohio, according to NFL.com. “You can’t blame anybody else for your actions. The choices that you make each and every day are what shape your life.”
Vick also touched on numerous other topics, including how his career spiraling out of control was not a surprise and the dedication a player needs to succeed in the NFL.
“As I sat in a prison cell, I understood why I was in there,” Vick said. “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.”
As Vick continued to drive points home to the rookies, he emphasized that his path is not one to follow and that it’s not always a league of second chances.
“The game is going to go along, with or without you,” Vick said. “You control your destiny. You dictate how long you’re going to play in the league. It’s all up to you. It’s about commitment, dedication, preparation.”