Michael Vick Has Officially Retired From the NFL

Michael Vick says his football career is over.

The once-dynamic quarterback told ESPN’s Josina Anderson on Friday that he is officially retired from the NFL. Vick, 36, did not play this past season.

“In this moment right now, I’m willing to say yeah, I’m officially retired,” Vick told Anderson. “I think it’s time. I think going through the 2016 season without playing and being able to be a spectator and watch the game and enjoy it from afar and root for a lot of the players and coaches I once played for, I think kind of summed it all up for me.

“So now I think I’m officially ready, I’m ready to move on to different things in my life and different facets of my life.”

It marks the end to a noteworthy career — for both its ups and downs — for the No. 1 overall pick in 2001 of the Atlanta Falcons, who acquired the selection through a trade with the San Diego Chargers.

Vick spent six seasons in Atlanta, wowing the NFL with his running ability and strong arm and leading the Falcons to two playoff appearances and one trip to the NFC Championship Game (2004).

His career, however, was derailed by a 21-month federal prison sentence for running a dogfighting ring. While Vick served his time, the Falcons in 2008 drafted Matt Ryan, who took the starting job in Atlanta and will lead the team into Super Bowl LI against the New England Patriots on Sunday.

Atlanta ultimately cut Vick. He signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2009, a controversial move among fans who objected to his dogfighting activities and because the team already had quarterbacks Donovan McNabb and Kevin Kolb on its roster.

Vick played sparingly in 2009 but started 35 games for Philly over the next three seasons, making the Pro Bowl in 2010. But his play declined in 2012 and ’13, partly because of injuries.

He spent 2014 with the New York Jets and 2015 with the Pittsburgh Steelers, making three starts for each team.

Vick finishes his career with 133 passing touchdowns and 36 rushing TDs in 143 games spanning 13 seasons. He completed 1,807 of 3,217 passes for 22,464 yards, and he rushed for 6,109 yards on 873 carries. He is the NFL’s all-time leading rusher among quarterbacks, with over 1,000 yards more than runner-up Randall Cunningham.

Vick made four Pro Bowls and was named 2010 AP Comeback Player of the Year.

Speaking to ESPN’s Anderson in August, Vick said he had been training four days a week with a personal trainer and a quarterbacks coach with hopes of an NFL return in 2016.

That, however, never happened.

The closest Vick got to a field came in the Falcons’ regular-season finale Jan. 1, when the team invited him back as part of its final regular-season game at the Georgia Dome. Owner Arthur Blank called Vick “an important player in our history” and fans cheered him wildly when introduced at halftime.

Earlier this week, Vick penned a letter to Falcons fans on The Players’ Tribune website, telling them how big of a fan he remains of the team.

“A lot of people are surprised when they find out how passionately I’ve been rooting for the Falcons this season,” Vick wrote. “They assume that there is some sort of tension between us, some level of bitterness. And even when I tell people that it isn’t the case … I have a feeling they may not exactly believe me.”