When Michael Vick spoke earlier this week, he treated his surprise starting nod like it was a gift dropped into his lap by the football gods.
"You never know what I could accomplish," the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback said. "I could go out there and break a record. There's tremendous upside."
As it turned out, there was scant upside to be found Sunday in the Eagles' 42-7 loss to the New York Giants at frigid MetLife Stadium. Vick finished 19-of-35 passing for 197 yards and one touchdown with one interception while playing with teammates who had one foot inside the heated team bus by the second quarter.
What's next for Vick? The Eagles are certain to part ways with him shortly after the season concludes, ending their four-year marriage. Several NFL teams are looking to upgrade at quarterback, but Vick won't sniff a third $100 million contract.
"Ultimately, I wish we could have accomplished more for my teammates," Vick said when asked if he wanted to remain an Eagle. "I don't know right now. I just need to get some rest."
The luster is off Vick, and for the second time in five years, he'll play the part of an underdog who's seeking redemption when a new season dawns. Last time, it was about rising from the ashes after a dogfighting scandal and subsequent prison sentence blew up his life and NFL career.
Now the circumstances are more traditional. Vick will be 33 in June, and he has been a mediocre, injury-prone quarterback for two seasons running. If he viewed Sunday's game as a chance to remind teams of his abilities, he fell short of that goal. Vick said "I can't answer that for you" when asked why other teams should see a starting-caliber quarterback when they go over his 2012 game film.
Someone will take their shot on Vick, seduced by the memory of his past greatness and their own desperation. Whether or not Vick still has it in him to be great is up for debate.
Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.