Michael Vick turns 34 this month. Injuries have plagued him for years, and he appears destined to serve as Geno Smith's backup this season with the never-a-dull-moment New York Jets.
But Vick has no plans to ease toward retirement holding a clipboard on the sideline.
"I see myself doing this until it's not in my blood anymore, until I don't have a passion for it anymore," he said during a phone interview Wednesday. "I don't see my skills just diminishing overnight in the next two years.
"I still think I can be 36 years old and be one of the fastest guys on the field. I'm just kind of built that way. It's kind of evident now. If you watched me practice, you couldn't tell the difference in my performance five years ago and now. For me, it's all about staying healthy and continuing to be an asset for somebody's football team."
Vick is returning home to Hampton Roads this weekend for events showcasing the Team Vick Foundation. He's hosting a black-tie gala Friday at the Newport News City Center Marriott, a youth football camp Saturday and Sunday at Todd Stadium and a golf tournament Sunday at the Riverfront in Suffolk.
Among the NFL players Vick expects to attend are LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Chris Johnson, Ras-I Dowling, Antoine Bethea, Tajh Boyd, Tyrod Taylor and B.W. Webb.
"It's going to be an awesome weekend," said Vick, who annually supplies food and toys to needy area families during the holidays.
Before the weekend's charitable work, Vick completed organized team activities (OTAs) with the Jets on Thursday. He signed a one-year contract in March worth a reported $5 million, knowing full well the franchise invested in Smith as the starter and likely will turf coach Rex Ryan absent a playoff appearance.
Hardly an ideal situation, even with Vick's knowledge of coordinator Marty Mornhinweg's offense from their time together in Philadelphia. Vick had the most productive seasons of his career there in 2010 and '11 under Mornhinweg and head coach Andy Reid but never remained healthy for an entire year. New coach Chip Kelly awarded Vick the starting gig last season, but a hamstring injury shelved him and elevated the promising Nick Foles.
"There's no hard feelings in leaving Philadelphia," Vick said. "It's football, man. The best player's going to play. I got hurt. I lost my position due to injury, and there's a lot of players that's happened to. … I was happy for the success of the team, for the success of Chip, and I was able to move on from it."
Ryan is a (freak?) show unto himself and teed up even more tabloid fodder with a Mark Sanchez-Tim Tebow quarterback circus in 2012. But the Jets drafted Smith out of West Virginia last year and made him the starter.
The central question since Vick's arrival is whether there is an open competition for the job. "Nah," was his answer to the Newark Star-Ledger's Darryl Slater and other scribes covering the team.
"The thing for me is to prepare myself to go out and win whenever I'm asked," Vick said during our conversation. "I can't worry about any of the surrounding events because I have no control over them. The thing I can control is when I have the ball in my hand. …
"Geno has had a very productive camp, making strides each and every day. Geno has a lot of room to grow. He looks good right now. He's playing at a high level. Now there has to be carryover to training camp, preseason and the regular season."
As for Vick?
"I feel like I've had a great spring as well," he said. "Physically, I haven't been sore one day. I've gained about four pounds, solid muscle. I'm still moving quick. I even scored a rushing touchdown today. Still can move. Doesn't seem like any of my skills have diminished. … I still feel like I can play at a high level. That may be tested at some point this season, and I look forward to it."
Smith lacks Vick's raw speed — who doesn't? — but is among the young, mobile quarterbacks populating the NFL. Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, Robert Griffin III and Cam Newton have led their teams to the playoffs, and Cleveland Browns faithful hope Johnny Manziel can do the same.
Vick helped set the stage for them 15 years ago when as a redshirt freshman he quarterbacked Virginia Tech to the national championship game. The No. 1 pick of the 2001 draft, he twice led the Atlanta Falcons to the playoffs.
"They were telling me that when I first started doing it in the league, that I was changing the game and the way the quarterback position was being played," Vick said, "and I wouldn't have thought 10-12 years from that point, you'd have (so many) quarterbacks in the league … with the same style of play. …
"I started that trend. Once I came in the league and did what I did, coaches wanted that type of quarterback, and now they're getting them. And now you've got Kaepernick, and now you've got Russell Wilson, and now you've got RG III. You've got Cam Newton. You've got Andrew Luck who can move. I was kind of the originator. That's something I can take to the grave. We all know that. It feels good to know I was kind of the trendsetter."
Michael Vick's weekend
Friday: Black-tie gala, 7 p.m., City Center Marriott.
Saturday: Youth football camp, 8 a.m.-2 p.m., Todd Stadium; softball game, 5 p.m., Hampton University.
Sunday: Youth camp, 9 a.m.-noon, Todd Stadium; golf tournament, 1 p.m., Riverfront, Suffolk.
For more information: http://www.MikeVickweekend.orgCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun