- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Michael Vick respects the fast, young quarterbacks in today's NFL, but he considers them Michael Vick impersonators.
"I was the guy who started it all," the New York Jets quarterback told ESPN.com.
"I revolutionized the game. I changed the way it was played in the NFL."
Vick, who turns 34 on Thursday, believes he's a pioneer when it comes to mobile quarterbacks. He's the all-time leading rusher at the position, having produced 5,857 yards in his career.
Despite missing two full seasons in his prime while serving prison time for his involvement in a dogfighting ring, Vick said he has exceeded his personal goals.
"The things I've done, I've pretty much surpassed myself and expectations -- over 25,000 yards in total offense in the NFL, and I missed a lot of years and a lot of games," he said.
"That's more the reason I have to keep it going."
"When I was on the field with Ray Lewis," he said, "I kind of felt like we matched up, tit for tat."
In a wide-ranging interview, Vick sounded resigned to serving as Geno Smith's backup for the Jets. He said Smith is capable of leading the Jets to a Super Bowl.
"I think it can happen this year," he said.
"I think Geno can take us to where we need to go. It'll seal my legacy -- for me, myself. For the public, I don't know."
Vick said he'd be happy to win a Super Bowl ring as a backup. He said a Super Bowl title is the only thing missing from his career.
"It burns a lot," he said of the void.
"It's something I've always shot for. When we went to the NFC Championship Game in 2004, I was almost certain I'd be involved in two or three more, at least. It goes to show how tough this league is. This is such a team game that, even in my prime, I couldn't do it all by myself."
Vick also addressed how he feels the New York fans will react to his dogfighting past.
Soon after signing a one-year contract in March, a group in Cortland, New York -- home of the Jets' training camp -- started an online petition to ban him from camp. It received more than 20,000 signatures.
Vick said he never gave it a thought.
"Why? Why would I? My life has nothing to do with their life and their beliefs," he said.
"I mean, what's done is done. Look at all the good. My message to them is, look at the good I've done, all the thousands of lives that I've saved, the people I've saved. That's most important. That's what the focus should be on, the lives that are being affected."
Vick operates a charitable foundation that helps at-risk youth.
9hEric D. Williams
16hDan Graziano and Adam Caplan