Mike Vick never lost his confidence. He never lost that swagger that made him one of the most marketable players in the NFL.
Even now, as he prepares for what could be the defining moment in his career, Vick is full of jokes. As he exited the practice field Tuesday, a reporter asked him if he had been lifting more.
Vick replied, “Can’t you tell?”
The undersized Vick dedicated his offseason to strength and conditioning training, in an effort to avoid injury. He added four extra pounds — all muscle, according to Vick.
“I’m confident in myself. That’s the only reason I’m standing here,” Vick said. “I believe in me. I know what I can do. I know I’ve got a lot of years left to play this game. Everybody says I’m injury prone, so I’m trying to fight that. You have to stay on the field, and that’s what I’m working on.”
It won’t be easy for him. Vick must beat out second-year man Nick Foles — and maybe surging rookie Matt Barkley — for the starting gig. A few months ago, it seemed like the idea of an open competition was beneath Vick. After his first official training camp practice for the 2013 season, he appears to be welcoming that competition.
“I embrace the competition. I really do,” Vick said. “It makes all of us better quarterbacks. It makes all of us better football players. It definitely pushes me.”
Don’t get him wrong. Vick still thinks he’s the best man for the job, a sentiment that was echoed by teammate DeSean Jackson last week. But, on a scorching hot day in late July — under the watchful gaze of first-year coach Chip Kelly — Vick seems to have bought in to a new way of doing things. And, if things don’t go in his favor, well, he seems content to stick around and not sulk about it.
“I’m here for one reason — to help this team win football games, by any means necessary, whatever it takes,” he said. “If I have to watch film with all the quarterbacks, or if I have to coach the quarterbacks one day, that’s what I’ll do. I can do it.”