If U.S. debt rating downgrade drama and a slow growth, high-unemployment economy has rattled your faith in America, please took a close look at Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. The stocky, jive-stepping quarterback who lost it all for running a dog fighting ring is back, and almost as rich as ever before.
In America, you can be what you want to be, especially if you've got a strong arm and slick moves like Vick, the former Virginia Tech and Atlanta Falcons standout who went to prison for 21 months and filed for bankruptcy after he was arrested and charged with running a dog fighting ring.
Now, Vick and the NFL's Eagles reportedly agreed to a six-year, $100 million contract on Monday that includes $40 million in guaranteed money. After winning the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year last year the new contract makes Vick one of the highest-paid players in the game.
The minute somebody suggests that America isn't great, that anything can't happen, just use Michael Vick as a prime example. When he was arrested and charged and sent to prison several years ago most said Vick was done. Most pundits thought the NFL would never let him play another game.
But Vick said he was sorry. He said he made a mistake.
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Still, controversy swirled when the league said last year Vick could return but by the time he started dazzling on the field, throwing for more than 3,000 yards and 21 touchdowns and running to paydirt another nine times, Vick was voted into the Pro Bowl after leading the Eagles to the NFC East Division title.
Previously, Vick had a 10-year, $130 million contract with the Atlanta Falcons, but he threw that away to the dogs.
Now, however, he joins Shaquille O'Neal and Alex Rodriquez as one of just three athletes to ever sign multiple $100 million contracts. Also, Vick's contract only trails other NFL quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tom Brady who both signed deals in the past year for $18 million per year.
Vick's new deal will pay him roughly $16 million per year.
So to all those naysayers who thought Vick was over and done, having thrown it all away for dog fighting, behold. This is America. Anything can happen. After bankruptcy and a prison sentence, a man can still emerge with a work contract worth $100 million.
If he can do it, anybody can -- though it certainly will help to have Vick's moves and throwing arm.