A former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback is coming out of retirement.
Michael Vick, who played his final season in the NFL in 2015 with the Steelers, is coming out of retirement to play for the Fan Controlled Football League during the final week of its regular season, according to Frank Pingue of Reuters. Vick is best known for his stints with the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles, where Vick become a four-time Pro Bowler.
“Michael Vick, the once-dynamic NFL quarterback whose involvement in a dogfighting ring halted a breathtaking career in its prime, has agreed to come out of retirement to join startup league Fan Controlled Football, a source told Reuters on Friday,” says Pingue.
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Report: Vick Returning Due to Owens
The 41-year-old Vick will become the third former NFL superstar to participate in the 7-on-7 league, joining the likes of Johnny Manziel and Terrell Owens. The FCF is played on a 50-yard indoor field and features eight teams — double the amount from its debut season last year — in its second season of play.
According to the source, Vick’s motivation to return to football is due to seeing the success that Owens is having upon joining the league. The 48-year-old Owens hasn’t played in the NFL since the 2010 season and has nine receptions for 112 yards and two touchdowns this season.
Vick has yet to be assigned a team and it’s unclear of this is a one-off or if the former NFL star will continue to play in the league. The FCF playoffs will be begin after the conclusion of the regular season.
The former four-time Pro Bowler played for the Steelers in 2015, serving as Ben Roethlisberger’s primary backup quarterback. The veteran actually ended up starting three of his five appearances before a hamstring injury sidelined him. Vick went 2-1 during his appearances, throwing for two touchdowns against one interception to go along with 99 rushing yards.
Vick retired in 2017 after throwing for 22,464 yards and 133 touchdowns during his 13 NFL seasons. His 6,109 career rushing yards remain the most-ever by a quarterback.
Fitzpatrick Looking for ‘Market-Setting’ Contract
As the Steelers look to rebuild their defensive identity after a disastrous 2021 season, one of their key objectives will be re-signing Minkah Fitzpatrick.
The two-time All-Pro selection will be entering the final year of his rookie contract in 2022, a deal that will pay him $10.6 million for the upcoming season. Fitzpatrick is currently the third-highest paid free safety in the league.
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Fitzpatrick will “likely be aiming” to become the highest-paid player at his position. Seattle Seahawks safety Jamal Adams is earning $17.5 million per season, which means Fitzpatrick will be aiming to surpass that.
However, according to Spotrac, Fitzpatrick’s market value is $15.2 million per season across four years — which would fall drastically short of Adams’ market-setting deal.
While Fitzpatrick has clearly shown his potential since being acquired by the Steelers via trade back in 2019, he had a disastrous 2021 season. According to Pro Football Focus, Fitzpatrick posted a 59.8 defensive grade after posting a 79.5 grade in 2020 and a 79.8 grade in 2019.
However, that may have more to do with the Steelers’ own failures as a defensive unit — Pittsburgh ranked 20th in points allowed and 24th in yards allowed in 2021, their worst numbers in 30 years — rather than Fitzpatrick.
At 25 years of age, Fitzpatrick has yet to hit his peak. And considering he’s already garnered two All-Pro selections within his first three years as a member of the Steelers, it would be a surprise if Pittsburgh weren’t to offer Fitzpatrick a contract that matches Adams’ deal prior to the 2023 season.