Andy Reid on family, prison, Michael Vick

August, 26, 2011
8/26/11
3:36
PM ET
By now, you've undoubtedly heard/seen/noticed that ESPN The Magazine did its NFL season preview with a Michael Vick theme. One of the better stories associated with that is a first-person account by Andy Reid of the decision to sign Vick upon his release from prison. Reid describes it as a strongly personal decision that had its roots in his own experience of visiting his sons in prison. He said he spoke to one of his sons before making the decision and got some good advice on what he needed to hear from Vick before deciding to sign him.
I talked to Michael, and I tried to be as specific as I could. Going to visit my sons in prison, I learned that those guys go through three phases when they're incarcerated. They think, "It's everybody else's fault." Then they admit, "It's my fault." The most important phase, if they get there, is, "It's my fault, and I will do absolutely everything I possibly can not to come back here." I came out of the conversation with Michael feeling that he had reached that level.

There's plenty more, of course, including good stuff on the relationships Vick developed with Donovan McNabb and Kevin Kolb while serving in a backup quarterback role with the Eagles in 2009 and 2010. It paints the picture of Vick as a guy who understood very early that he needed to take very specific steps to make his way back into NFL society and was willing to take them very effectively and at a very patient pace.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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