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Vick says pledge to change made him better person and QB

Michael Vick thought it was all over last summer, just one year after his release from prison. His second chance might be his last.

What could have been destructive instead laid the foundation for Vick's return to NFL stardom and the Philadelphia Eagles' ascent to one of the NFC's elite teams.

In an exclusive interview with NFL Network's Deion Sanders, Vick touched on the heights of this season, the depths of his past and what the future might hold.

The turning point, Vick said, came after his June birthday party ended with a shooting shortly after the quarterback had left. Vick believed it was "strike three" as far as the NFL was concerned. That's when he decided to change and do what his coaches, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and mentor Tony Dungy had wanted.

"Everything they've been asking me to do," Vick said in the interview, which aired on NFL Network's "Thursday Night Kickoff" before the Eagles-Houston Texans game. "Things that they've been skeptical on, that I wanted to do, and decisions that I made. And they still let me do it and get away with it."

Vick's birthday party had their approval because it was supposed to be a "get-together, a gathering. Then it turns out to be what it was. ... I think that right there just -- took the cake. ... Could've been strike three. Could've been over."

That was the impetus for change.

"You get to a point where you're just tired of hearing your name mentioned in a negative, negative light," Vick said. "And I'm just like, what can I do to turn this all around? ... Just do the right thing, stay out of the way. Come back to Philadelphia. Study some football. Do something different. And dedicate your life to change."

And that started with an attitude adjustment from his days in Atlanta, where he admitted he believed he was bigger than the game.

"Yeah, I did. I mean, you know, being young, being 22, leading my team to the playoffs in '04," Vick said. "I got all these endorsements, and you just feel like you arrived, and you feel like you know it all. You feel like nobody can tell you anything."

Vick said he hit rock bottom shortly before going to prison in Leavenworth, Kan., after his 2007 conviction for running a dogfighting operation.

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"Probably two hours before I turned myself in was the point in time where I was like, you know what? Everything I work hard for in my life has been taken away," Vick said. "Not because of somebody else, but because of me. Not because of the people I hung around, but because of me. And I have to do everything to make this right moving forward.

"You know, it's going to be tough. I don't know how long this is going to last. But I got to lean on the Lord and my faith in God and trust him to get me through the situation. That was probably my lowest point."

Landing in Philadelphia was the best thing that could have happened, Vick said, for several reasons, not the least of which was Donovan McNabb, who provided an example in the locker room and on the field.

"(His influence) meant a lot just being able to be here. Because I've never had that before. I never seen it," Vick said. "I was always the veteran. And then I had Matt Schaub come behind me (in Atlanta), and I didn't set an example for him. ... Having an opportunity to watch Donovan and just see him working hard. (How) he went about his whole weekly regimen in preparation really helped me in terms of my preparation. It really paid dividends for me."

The two-year contract that Vick signed in 2009 is up after this season. Would he stay with the Eagles?

"I would love to remain an Eagle," Vick said. "It's a great atmosphere, great place, great city. Great fans. It's everything you want."

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