Vick wins Eagles' courage award

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PHILADELPHIA - Michael Vick's peers appreciate his tough journey back to the NFL.

Vick won the Ed Block Courage Award, voted on by his teammates on the Philadelphia Eagles. The once-disgraced star quarterback returned to the league after spending 18 months in a federal prison for his role in a dogfighting ring.

"It means a great deal to me," Vick said Wednesday. "I was voted unanimously by my teammates. They know what I've been through. I've been through a lot. It's been great to come back and have an opportunity to play and be with a great group of guys. I'm just ecstatic about that and I enjoy every day."

A three-time Pro Bowl pick in six seasons with Atlanta, Vick has played sparingly with the Eagles. He has two touchdowns rushing and one passing in 12 games.

The Ed Block Award honors players who exemplify commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage. All 32 NFL teams select a recipient, and each winner will be honored at an awards ceremony in Baltimore on March 9.

"I've overcome a lot, more than probably one single individual can handle or bear," Vick said. "You ask certain people to walk through my shoes, they probably couldn't do. Probably 95 percent of the people in this world because nobody had to endure what I've been through, situations I've been put in, situations I put myself in and decisions I have made, whether they have been good or bad.

"There's always consequences behind certain things and repercussions behind them, too. And then you have to wake up every day and face the world, whether they perceive you in the right perspective, it's a totally different outlook on you. You have to be strong, believe in yourself, be optimistic. That's what I've been able to do. That's what I display."

The Eagles were criticized by animal rights activists for signing Vick less than a month after he was released from prison. Dozens of protesters voiced their outrage outside the team's practice facility the day after Vick was signed, and many fans threatened to give up their tickets.

But Vick got a warm reception in his first game with the Eagles and by most accounts has been a model citizen off the field.

The animal rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, issued a statement reprimanding the Eagles for giving Vick the award.

"The Philadelphia Eagles fumbled when they gave Michael Vick the Ed Block Courage Award, which was named after a man who advocated in behalf of abused children," the PETA statement read. "Michael Vick should not be the person anyone points to as a model of sportsmanship, even though he has now exchanged dogs for touchdowns after serving time for extreme cruelty to animals. We wish him well in educating others, but this is not appropriate and does not mark a joyous moment in NFL history."

Vick has spent time working with the Humane Society of the United States, speaking to school and community groups about the mistakes he made in getting involved in dogfighting.

"It was a big obstacle proving I'm worthy of a second chance," Vick said. "It doesn't stop here. I have to continue to prove that. I think it's not going to be a day-to-day process, it's going to be a year-in, year-out process. It's a challenge to myself. The thing I told (NFL commissioner) Roger (Goodell) is that four or five years from now, I'm going to come to him and say, 'Everything I told you I was going to do, I'm still doing it.' And that's what I pride myself on and that's my focus and that's my goal."

Quarterback Donovan McNabb called the award "well-deserved."

"Congratulations to him for straightening his life around and bettering himself as a human being," coach Andy Reid said. "He's obviously very well-respected by his teammates."

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55 F-100
55 F-100 12/24/09 - 02:20 pm
Hey convicted felon Vick,

Hey convicted felon Vick, before you proclaim yourself to be stronger and more motivated to excel over 95% of the population, why don't you try fighting for your country's freedom in Afghanistan in the winter! You should have been banned from the NFL for life. You are and always will be hood-rat thug, and certainly not a role model for the youth of today.

VickFan 12/24/09 - 04:15 pm
55- get over yourself.

55- get over yourself. Thanks for serving our country,but you condeming Vick is ridiculous. Did Vick fund an abortion clinic? Nope! Now get off his back and let him move on. Jesus told his disciples to forgive 7x70 times. It's time you get started forgiving.

StillaGOP 12/24/09 - 06:39 pm
Vick getting the Ed Block

Vick getting the Ed Block Courage Award is sorta like Obama winning the Noble Peace Prize, neither award means much anymore. We can and should forgive Michael, but we should not have what happened rubbed in our faces. Would it not have been better to just let the past slip away, instead of reminding us and trying to make some sort of hero out of his mistake? I believe Michael Vick's biggest problem was that he hung out with the wrong folks, they convinced him into doing something stupid and he got to pay for it. Ever notice that folks don't carry RAPIST or ADULTERER banners around the stadium when the Lakers play, both the Lakers and Kobe did a good job of letting his mistake die. Again what Kobe did was wrong, but we should also forgive.

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