(Reuters) - Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Michael Vick, once the most dynamic player in the National Football League, said on Tuesday he is savoring what could be his last chance to start.
The 35-year-old quarterback, who was unsigned for most of the NFL offseason until the Pittsburgh Steelers signed him in August, will make his first start since last November when he fills in for the injured Ben Roethlisberger on Thursday against the Baltimore Ravens.
“It’s a great opportunity for me, because I don’t know if I will have this opportunity ever again,” said Vick. “Just a month ago I was waiting to sign with a team. Now I feel like I have a chance to go out and play freely and enjoy the game, enjoy this moment and being out there with my teammates.”
The Steelers hope Vick, whose involvement in a dog fighting ring led to a dramatic fall from grace, will be able to flash even a glimpse of the form of his early days and he said after practice he still had some of the speed that once made him one of the NFL’s most feared players.
”My legs feel good,“ said Vick. ”I can still move a little bit, which is a blessing. I think at age 35 to still be as quick as I am is a credit to the hard work I put into the offseason.
“I‘m just trying to keep my body in tip-top shape. I know that’s an asset for me and I have to continue to use it.”
In three starts last season with the New York Jets, Vick completed 38 of 65 passes for 404 yards and three touchdowns.
Between now and Thursday’s game Vick will do his best to build chemistry with the offense and watch more game film but will surely reflect on yet another chance at being a starter.
“Everything happens for a reason,” said Vick.
”I just stayed optimistic and tried to stay in shape, kept the faith, kept believing. This is what I love to do, so I continue to work hard at it.
“As a quarterback, there’s always room for progress. You can only regress if you allow yourself to. I‘m just trying to make strides in every area of my game.”
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Greg Stutchbury