Michael Vick understands some people will never forgive him for his role in a dogfighting ring. But he believes his time in prison was instrumental in his becoming "the person I am" and says he doesn't have any regrets.
"As crazy as this may sound, going to prison really changed my life," Vick said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. "I was able to go in and come out with a plan. ... I'm happy that I turned out to be the person I am, and I wouldn't change anything about my life if I could."
Vick, 30, said he pays little attention to criticism, although he spent last summer reading the nastiest barbs "in order to prove people wrong," adding that "it motivates me."
"At some point, I think you let bygones be bygones," he told the newspaper. "I think some people will never forget. Some people will. But I think that's just the reality of the situation I created for myself."
Vick also talked about his time in prison, calling it "the lowest point in my life."
"But every day when I was in prison, I was confident and optimistic that one day I would get a letter, that somebody would do something to free me up," he said. "... It never happened, but I always believed. So that's why I always had hope. And that's what got me through the time. ...
"I was locked down 23 hours of the day. One hour to go out and walk around the (recreation) yard. That was a time that I spent dreaming and visualizing myself coming back and doing great things. And just praying for an opportunity. I took that moment to reflect back on all of the things that I didn't take advantage of, and what I could do moving forward to try to be prosperous."
Vick, who stepped into the Eagles' starting quarterback job after Kevin Kolb suffered a concussion in last year's season opener, set career highs for passing yards (3,018), touchdown passes (21), completions (233), completion percentage (62.6) and passer rating (100.2). Vick also rushed for 676 yards and nine scores.