The Falcons made Michael Vick the #1 overall pick of the 2001 NFL draft. In 2004, they made him the highest paid player in the NFL with a $130 million contract. He had made two straight Pro Bowls and led the Falcons to the NFC title game. Two seasons later, he was in federal prison and his Falcons career was over. It was a devastating blow for the Falcons franchise, who went 4-12 in 2007. So suffice to say, Vick has a well known and dubious history with the Falcons and city of Atlanta.
However, a lot of it was good. He won a lot of games in Atlanta, he won the fifth most games over his first 50 starts in NFL history while there. He set the single season records for rushing yards for a QB and yards per carry of any player in league history. He made three pro bowls... So, while it ended badly, Vick understandably has some good memories of his time in Atlanta as well and he says he's excited to be down there again.
"I think it's going to be exciting just to go back. This is a business, but from an emotional aspect, it'll be good to go back to the dome. I think we just have to focus on the game, and I think that's going to be my approach. I don't want any distractions, and I just want to go out and play the best football that I can play."
Last time Vick was in Atlanta was with the Eagles two seasons ago, where he appeared late in a game in relief of Donovan McNabb. Amazingly, there was a large amount of Falcons still support Vick in attendance. He was asked this week what kind of reception he expects from the ATL faithful this time around.
"I don't know, and that's something I haven't thought about and don't want to get into. I still have a lot of love for the fans down there, but keep in mind that I am with the opposition now. I don't expect it to be in my favor since I'm out there for the other team but we'll see. That's the fun part of the game, and we're just going to enjoy the game."
As for the guys on the field, Vick says he expects the Falcons to bring the blitz, a strategy which he welcomes.
"I expecting the blitz. I expect to see that, and that's what we're preparing and practicing for. I expect to see that until, I don't know, the fifth or sixth game of the season. Teams think that's the way to get after us, but we have so many weapons and so many ways to counter that, how much can you do?"