Michael Vick hasn't taken a snap since 2015, when he started three games for the Pittsburgh Steelers. But the 36-year-old, who said 10 months ago he could still beat Cam Newton in a footrace, will return to professional football this summer.
The NFL's No. 1 overall pick in 2001 is expected to join American Flag Football League for an exhibition game scheduled for June 27. The plan is to launch an eight-team league in 2018. Jeff Lewis, the man behind the league, got the idea from watching his son play fantasy football last fall.
"I just thought to myself, 'What would this look like if great athletes played this?' " Lewis said, via ESPN.com. "There's certainly a huge pool to take guys from. Every single year, NFL teams cut 800 guys. We need less than 100 players to field eight teams."
Recently retired NFL running back Justin Forsett is also expected to take part in the game, which will be a 7-on-7 affair played on a 100-yard field. And like most things in our lives, technology will play a big part; the flags, which historically are attached to players' belts via velcro, will be magnetic. And when it's detached, officials will know exactly where on the field it happened.
Lewis thinks the league could be attractive to players who have ended their NFL careers but still want to compete as well as those players who weren't good enough to make NFL rosters. Then there are the diamonds in the rough.
"We'll try to find a 60-year-old guy with a beer gut who can stand in and be a quarterback of one of our teams," Lewis said. There's still plenty to sort out but Lewis remains optimistic.
"We think what will make this successful is urgency, affinity and quality," he said. "This is why shows like 'American Idol' and 'American Ninja Warriors' have been popular. We think the game and how we've set it up will give us this."
And if this flag football thing doesn't work out for Vick,.