John Madden's passing on Tuesday brought with it many endearing comments from big names across the NFL community who have been influenced by him over the last 40 years.
One such player to come forward with a story about Madden was Michael Vick. The legendary former Falcons and Eagles quarterback had one of the more recent stories about Madden, which took place around Vick's retirement.
Michael Vick's final season in the NFL came in 2015. After wrapping up his playing career, a 35-year-old Vick had plenty of gas left in the tank to move on to other endeavors.
Vick thought about making the transition to broadcasting, following in the footsteps of Madden, who went from coaching on the sidelines to calling games in the booth.
Vick spoke to his former head coach Andy Reid about the idea. Reid told him to go talk to Madden. According to Vick, Madden's advice to him was to "just be himself."
Vick was initially nervous about the move, but Madden's guidance gave him the confidence to take the leap. In his post on Twitter, Vick thanked both Reid and Madden for their roles in helping him take the step towards a new career path.
Adding to his own tweet, Vick wrote that it was an honor to be in Madden's presence in football meetings or on the phone, stating that he considered Madden to be a "trail-blazer" and that he would be "missed dearly."
Michael Vick spent 15 years either playing or waiting to play in the NFL. He played for the Atlanta Falcons from 2001-2006 between the ages of 21 and 26.
Vick missed the 2007 and 2008 seasons due to his off-the-field issues. These included testing positive for marijuana, an incident in which a woman sued him for giving her an STD, and of course, his involvement in the infamous dog fighting scandal that earned him a 23-month prison sentence. He eventually returned to play for Andy Reid and the Philadelphia Eagles in 2009 and played until 2013.
According to Pro Football Reference, the quarterback went on to play for the Jets and the Steelers before officially retiring in 2017. His last recorded statistic came in 2015. The reason for his delayed retirement was his understandable stubbornness and unwillingness to accept that his career was, indeed, over.
Michael Vick's pioneering scrambling quarterback role
Michael Vick was known for being a "trail-blazer" in his own right, as he elevated the idea of what a scrambling quarterback could be in the NFL.
With the exception of Lamar Jackson, not many could point to another quarterback as dynamic, different and effective as Michael Vick.
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While Vick's peak in the NFL was short-lived, it set the stage and created a surge of scrambling quarterbacks in today's game. Without Vick to push the league in this direction, many would say today's top passers would be pocket quarterbacks.