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Retiring Michael Vick was once "salty" about Matt Ryan

By Alex Butler
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Former New York Jets QB Michael Vick stands on the sidelines in the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions in week 4 of the NFL season at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey on September 28, 2014. The Lions defeated the Jets 24-17. UPI /John Angelillo
Former New York Jets QB Michael Vick stands on the sidelines in the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions in week 4 of the NFL season at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey on September 28, 2014. The Lions defeated the Jets 24-17. UPI /John Angelillo | License Photo

Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Not many NFL players have been through trials and triumphs in a career as tumultuous as Michael Vick's, self-inflicted or not.

Regardless of your opinion of the four-time Pro Bowl quarterback, you can't deny his never-seen-before talent. Vick, who famously went to Leavenworth federal prison for 548 days for dogfighting conspiracy, is retiring from the NFL.

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"Yeah, I think it's it," Vick told Sports Illustrated. "I'm kind of looking at life from a different perspective now. I've got kids growing that I've got to be there for. I was committed in 2016 to giving it one more shot. I'm very content with my career and what I've been able to accomplish. I accomplished more than I ever thought I would. Listen, at the end of the day, through all the downs I played, I can say I won a game for every team that I played for, even though I only made three starts in New York and three starts in Pittsburgh. I made a difference, I'm content with my career and I'm ready to move forward in life."

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Vick, 36, played the first six years of his career for the Atlanta Falcons, posting a 38-28-1 record as a starting quarterback. After missing the 2007 and 2008 seasons, he regained his Pro Bowl form with the Philadelphia Eagles for five seasons. Vick joined the New York Jets in 2014. He played for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2015.

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The Virginia Tech product rushed for 1,039 yards in 2006. His 6,109 career rushing yards rank No. 1 all-time for quarterbacks. He also had 36 rushing touchdowns in 143 games.

Vick did not visit with any teams and did not sign as a free agent this season. He was still holding out hope in June, saying he "would love to play" and "suit up for another run at it," according to NJ.com.

Vick signed a six-year, $62 million contract with the Falcons in 2001. He signed a nine-year, $130 million extension with the team in 2004, before being suspended by the NFL in 2007. After signing a two-year, $6.8 million in 2009 with the Eagles, the franchise rewarded him in 2011 with a five-year, $80 million pact.

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While Vick never advanced further than the 2005 NFC Championship, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has the franchise fighting for a Lombardi Trophy. The Falcons' only other Super Bowl appearance came in 1998.

But Vick isn't jealous of Ryan, as he was in 2008, while sitting in prison.

"I always watched ESPN when I was in Leavenworth [federal prison]," Vick told Sports Illustrated. "They were always talking about what was going on and current events in sports. In 2008 I was very anxious to see what would happen. A couple representatives from the Falcons had come out to see me. I was always keeping hope alive that maybe I could return and finish what I started, but I always knew that door would close and a new chapter would open for the Atlanta Falcons. When they drafted Matt when I was prison, I was a little shocked. Stunned. A little bitter. A little salty. But I was able to get over it quick because I understood the circumstances..."

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"It was just very hurtful...," Vick told Sports Illustrated. "It was a very rough day mentally, emotionally and also spiritually. You start to question certain things. But I could only question so much because I knew the reason why I was at where I was at. Going against my core principles and what I was taught in life, and not being loyal to certain people and not being honest."

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TMZ Sports reported Monday that Vick is hosting an "official retirement party" at Grooves of Houston nightclub during Super Bowl weekend. Gucci Mane and Vick are hosting the bash.

Ryan, 31, is a four-time Pro Bowl selection. He was voted as a first-time All Pro this season and is the favorite to win the NFL MVP Award. Ryan is 85-57 as a starting quarterback in nine seasons for the Falcons.

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