Just do it: Nike brings Eagles' Vick back into fold

Posted: July 02, 2011

The Michael Vick comeback story has come full circle.

Nearly four years after he was dumped by Nike, the Eagles quarterback was re-signed for promotional services by the worldwide leader in sports sneakers and apparel, according to the company.

"We have re-signed Michael Vick as a Nike athlete," spokesman Derek Kent said Friday. "Michael acknowledges his past mistakes. We do not condone those actions, but we support the positive changes he has made to better himself off the field."

The deal, the exact details of which are unknown, is believed to be the first for a major athlete who was dropped by an endorser only to be re-signed later.

Vick did not respond to a text message seeking comment, but he released a statement.

"I am thrilled to be on the Nike roster," Vick said. "The brand represents the most exciting athletes in sports. My focus is now on preparing for the football season and performing at the highest level for my team and my fans."

Nike dropped Vick in August 2007, just months after he was charged with operating and participating in a dog-fighting ring. The company called his acts "inhumane, abhorrent, and unacceptable" in a statement announcing what was then believed to be the end of a relationship.

When he returned to the NFL after he was convicted and served an 18-month federal prison term, Vick received free products from Nike but was not under contract.

Vick's return to product endorsing has been a slow one. But after a stellar 2010 season - in which he was named the league's comeback player of the year - he signed with a few small companies. Unequal Technologies, which makes Vick's protective gear, signed him to a two-year deal in January. Two months later, Core Synergy, the maker of titanium wristbands, also signed the 31-year-old.

Vick originally signed with Nike before his rookie season in 2001. His shoes were among the company's biggest sellers. As Vick's involvement with a Virginia Beach dogfighting operation became known, however, Nike, Coca-Cola, and all other endorsers broke ties with him.

His return to Nike cements a whirlwind two years in which Vick went from third-string quarterback to backup to starter leading the Eagles to the NFC East title last season. His jersey became one of the most purchased in the NFL. Vick also has an autobiography slated to be released on July 22.

The Eagles signed Vick to a one-year deal before the NFL lockout in March. Though that contract could be voided, the team is committed to him for next season.

Contact staff writer Jeff McLane at 215-854-4745, jmclane@phillynews.com,

or @Jeff_McLane on Twitter.

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