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Michael Vick wants to play until he's 40

Vick embracing role as mentor to Smith with Jets
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New York Jets quarterback Michael Vick (1) signs autographs for fans after practice during an NFL football training camp on Saturday, July 26, 2014, in Cortland, N.Y. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Whenever Michael Vick's career ends, it'll be one of the more fascinating and remarkable ones in NFL history. (Note we did not say "impressive" or "admirable.") And if Vick has his way, that career won't end for quite some time.

Vick seems like he's been around forever, but he's "only" 34, a year younger than Drew Brees and two years younger than Tom Brady. He's now the presumptive backup to Geno Smith on the Jets, which doesn't necessarily portend a spectacular third act to one's career. But Vick on Thursday said he hopes and expects to play until he's 40.

“You never envision yourself being in this role (when you’re younger),” Vick told the New York Daily News. “But as you grow older, you start to (realize) it’s inevitable. You know it’s going to happen. At the same time, I just try to keep myself in shape and keep trying to be the best that I can be, because you never know what can happen.”

Vick is in that peculiar veteran-backup role: he's supposed to mentor and guide Smith (which, by all indications, he's done without incident), but at the same time you know he really REALLY wouldn't mind if something happened to Smith. That's the balancing act that Vick, or any backup QB, has to pull off.

In Vick's corner: head coach Rex Ryan. “He’s got to be the youngest 34-year-old there is,” Ryan said. “God touched him. He’s got so much natural ability. It’s amazing." Vick, Ryan says, still has "a bazooka for an arm,” and is one heck of a second option.

Sure, there are plenty of people who will never forgive Vick for his dog-fighting exploits, even after 18 months in a federal prison. But all he has to do is win, and Jets fans, at least, will be all in on Vick ... for however long he's around.

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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or find him on Facebook or on Twitter.

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