For a player who was once expected to change the face of the league, Michael Vick's new role as a backup and mentor can be a major adjustment, but Vick has taken to his new role quite well.
"I try to mentor all of the quarterbacks," noted Vick. "I'm still learning every day. Obviously I've been playing a lot longer than those guys, and probably won't be playing as long as they're going to play from here on out, but I try to help them in every facet that I can. They're doing a good job of being receptive with the information that they get. They're doing a good job of going out there and executing, week in and week out."
Vick is already earning the respect of his teammates during OTAs. He spoke highly of the welcome he has received and the overall culture of the Jets' locker room. "I think from day one I have been accepted," stated the veteran signal-caller. "These guys are great. This is an outstanding locker room. (We) work together, play together, believe in one another and that's the recipe for a good football team. I'm excited to be playing with them."
Vick has found he is earning admiration from unlikely sources as well. Amongst his four Pro Bowl honors and NFL record 5,219 quarterback rushing yards, he has the distinction of widely being considered the best Madden character of all time, a reputation that younger teammates can't help but remind him of.
"I get that all the time, not just in here, that's all across the world, wherever I'm at," Vick said about young players using him in Madden. ""That's a good thing, but it definitely makes you feel old, I can tell you that."
Vick graced the cover of the decade-old game Madden 2004. For Vick, feeling the passing of that time can be sobering. A decade ago he was a 22-year-old phenomenon, a No. 1 overall pick fulfilling his destiny with his once-in-a-generation talent. Turning 34 in late June, Vick's physical talent has diminished and his body has become increasingly unable to sustain a reckless playing style.
The days of a guaranteed starting position are likely over, but Vick has fought the idea that he is now officially an "old" player, even going as far as taking exception to a young teammate calling him "sir".
"That baffled me a little bit, admitted Vick. "I'm not that old and I have to reiterate that over and over again. I may be 10 or 12 years their senior, but when you start calling me sir I need to start thinking about retiring."
His best years may be gone, but Vick insists he still has years of good football left. Nevertheless, Vick has seen the market decrease for his services and has had to adapt. He may have hoped the Jets would provide one last opportunity to start in the NFL, and perhaps they still might. But if nothing else, Vick says he will do everything he can to be a good teammate, push Geno Smith and make the team better. Just don't call him "sir".