Goodell 'proud' of Vick, sees example for overcoming obstacles

Michael Vick put an exclamation point on his comeback with his performance in Monday's 59-28 win over the Redskins, and his resurgence has the entire league buzzing -- including Commissioner Roger Goodell.

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In a Thursday interview with the Daily News, Goodell praised Vick, saying "There is a big message in what Michael is doing. He's a superstar athlete who everyone thought had everything in the world. He fell from grace tragically by making some horrific mistakes, paid a significant price, worked his way back in and now he's being successful.

"It demonstrates to me to get to these young men earlier and work with them and make them understand their responsibility making decisions that will define them for a period of time."

The last time the commissioner spoke publicly about Vick was in August, when Goodell told Vick he would not face disciplinary action for a shooting at Vick's 30th birthday party at nightclub in Virginia Beach, Va. While Vick had behaved like a model citizen on and off the field in his first season with the Eagles, a meeting between the two led to the agreement that "additional support measures" needed to be added.

"My main concerns were off the field," Goodell told the Daily News on Thursday. "He's done terrific off the field. I'm proud of how he has responded. There are so many examples in our society of failure, people falling short. We need more success stories. I'm hoping Michael Vick will be a success story. People need to see that. People need to be inspired by that -- a person made a tragic error and he's overcome it."

"It's a good lesson," he added. "There is not anybody out there who has not made mistakes."

Goodell told the Daily News that he and Vick keep in frequent contact by phone or by text message on matters ranging from "encouragement to guidance."

"I let him know that I care and want him to succeed," Goodell said. "He's probably so much more satisfied and comfortable with his life right now. He's getting married next spring. He's got children. He's doing all the right things."

On Monday, Vick led the Eagles to a 35-0 lead after the first play of the second quarter. He completed his first 10 passes and finished 20 for 28 for 333 yards with four touchdowns. He also ran eight times for 80 yards and two scores, moving past Steve Young and into second place in NFL history for yards rushing by a quarterback.

The Eagles set team records for total yards in a game (592), points in a half (45) and had the biggest lead after the first quarter for any NFL road team (28-0) since at least 1950.

The win moved Philadelphia (6-3) into a first-place tie with the New York Giants in the division, with both teams two games ahead of the Redskins (4-5). The Eagles are 4-0 when Vick starts and finishes the game. They meet the Giants (6-3) on Sunday night.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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