Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 7/17/12

Depending on who you ask, Michael Vick is either an athlete who carries a tremendous comeback story around with him or nothing more than a multimillionaire who abuses animals. Some people feel that Vick did his time in prison and learned something from his experiences, while others feel that he can never be forgiven. Vick talks about all that and more in his autobiography “Finally Free,” which will be available for purchase on Sept. 4.

Vick began writing the book in prison, and he discussed some of it with USA TODAY Sports earlier this week. In “Finally Free,” the Eagles quarterback talks about his rough upbringing and the regret he has for the crimes he committed in getting involved with dogfighting. One particular excerpt from the book really sheds light on how significant a part of Vick’s life dogfighting had become.

“Back when I was involved in those activities, I may have become more dedicated to the deep study of dogs than I was to my Falcons playbook (Vick played in Atlanta from 2001-06). I became better at reading dogs than reading defenses. That’s just so sad to say right now, because I put more time and effort into trying to master that pursuit than my own profession … which was my livelihood … which put food on the table for my family.”

Vick also said he thought about lying his way through the entire ordeal but eventually felt guilty and described the pain the dogs felt as “all my fault.” Many supporters of Vick insist that he did not directly have a hand in the dogfighting rings but simply funded everything for his friends, but his comments prove that is flawed reasoning. Does he speak out against animal cruelty now simply to repair his image? That’s part of it, but the book further proves that Vick was more than just the cash that kept the machine working smoothly.

Photo credit: Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.

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