Michael Vick is the Eagles’ new $100 million man. (Michael Perez/AP)

I never expected him to be held in same regard he following his stint in prison, and instead he’s surpassed it.

The book isn’t closed on him, but so far it’s still been a remarkable comeback. I thought any team that signed him would be foolish for thinking that they could withstand the bad publicity he would bring. His greatest skill as a quarterback is his ability to run, something that should decline with age and would not be helped after years in prison. By the time of his release, he hadn’t played football in years and no one knew how such an absence would affect him. I never expected he’d even be as good as he was before he went to prison.

Instead he’s been even better.

I was not surprised at all that he found a new NFL home shortly after his release from prison. He’s just too talented not to be given a second chance by somebody, but the Eagles were a surprising landing spot. Not on Philadelphia’s part because they’ve shown a willingness to sign a player who might invite controversy (see Owens, Terrell). But
Vick came in as the No. 3 quarterback on the depth chart, behind long-time starter Donovan McNabb and their expected quarterback of the future, Kevin Kolb. He’d always been the starter, and it seemed impossible he’d accept anything less than a starting role. Maybe that should have been the first sign something was different.

I expected that he would fall back in with the same group of bad friends that got him into trouble in the first place. This is still the biggest question I have in my mind since it still could be a problem in the future. Is he still associating with some of the same “friends” that helped him run Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels? Maybe it won’t be an illegal dog fighting operation again, but bad encouragement could get him into a different kind of trouble next time. Instead he’s avoided those situations as far as we all know.

Also, the organizations who are willing to pay him millions of dollars, and should make sure that he’s not that same guy anymore, apparently believe he’s not going to get into trouble again. The Eagles have decided to make him the their cornerstone. Recently he was re-signed as an endorser of Nike products, the major brand that fired him after his arrest. Each report proves that he’s a changed man, and that he’s rehabilitated. What the past couple years have proven to me is that I should stop being so surprised by Michael Vick.