1. "From day one, he showed an unbelievable commitment to the program. He turned up every morning at 7:30 a.m., never late, and just worked with our coaches. He wants to be great, and he's prepared to do the work."
2. "He's grown tremendously in knowing that he can't make every play with his legs."
3. "Right now he's pushing this game to levels unseen."
4. "If a vote were taken today to select the NFL's Most Valuable Player, quarterback Michael Vick might be a landslide winner."
5. "I don't really know or care what offense you call it or where they're going with it, but as long as No. 7 is taking the center exchange, you've got to defend one of the great football players I've seen at that position."
6. "Michael Vick is a great player and he made great plays. We couldn't tackle him. But it wasn't just Michael Vick. They moved the ball in other areas on us."
And a few from Vick himself talking about his confidence and newfound maturity:
7. "This was my biggest day in the NFL. This is going to give me confidence. It's something I can build on."
8. "I think about what's happened to me before I go to sleep at night. I sit up and think, why me? Why have I been put in this position? You know it's for a reason."
9. "Obviously, I've matured a lot. I've had to step up, and I think that's prepared me for what I'm going through."
Every one of those quotes is fitting in describing the awesome performances Vick has given this year. The only thing is, each of these quotes was made years ago, long before Vick ran into trouble with the law and made a storybook NFL comeback.
1. Atlanta Falcons coach Jim Mora, 2005
4. John McClain, The Houston Chronicle, 2002
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden, 2005 (in another quote, Gruden referred to Vick as "that guy.")
6. Green Bay Packers coach Mike Sherman, 2003
7. Michael Vick, 2001
8. Michael Vick to Bill Rhoden of the New York Times, 2002*
9. Michael Vick, 2002
* In that same piece, a 22-year-old Vick was prescient when predicting his NFL future. "I won't be the same kind of player when I get older," he said. "I just won't be. As long as I can do what I can do, I'm going to do it. But when I turn 28 or 30 years old, I'm going to be a pure pocket passer. Like Randall Cunningham. I think about him a lot. I think about the way his game just changed as he got older."
The point of this is not to diminish what Vick has done since his return to a starting role. To the contrary, actually. It's a reminder that Vick has done this before. We've seen him completely dominate games with his arms and his legs. We've seen him make ridiculous plays that have us calling friends and saying "did you just see that?"
The circumstances are different and the story has changed, but one thing remains the same: Michael Vick has always been one hell of a football player.