Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Finally, Marcus Is 'The Man'; Younger Vick Grows into the Leader of No. 4 Hokies

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Finally, Marcus Is 'The Man'; Younger Vick Grows into the Leader of No. 4 Hokies

Article excerpt


ATLANTA -- Michael Vick heard the question from five lockers away, proving he was blessed with good ears to go with his fast legs and strong left arm.

The query, directed at Atlanta Falcons rookie quarterback Bryan Randall, involved Michael's younger brother, Marcus, who succeeded Randall as Virginia Tech's quarterback this season.

"It's all under control," Vick said before Randall could answer. "He's the man now."

Marcus Vick is indeed the man at Virginia Tech. He has led the Hokies, who are scheduled to host No. 15 Georgia Tech on Saturday, to a 3-0 start and a No. 4 national ranking.

But Michael's "the man" compliment had meaning beyond football. Marcus needed to become a man before he could be the man, and that was much tougher than escaping a collapsing pocket or juking a safety in the open field.

One year ago, Marcus lived at his brother's suburban Atlanta mansion, not a Virginia Tech dorm room. Marcus had been suspended from the Hokies football team and dismissed from school because of two arrests, the first for serving alcohol to teenage girls at a party and the second for reckless driving and possession of marijuana.

Michael took his brother in, making sure he returned to Virginia for court-ordered drug-and-alcohol treatment programs.

It was an odd living arrangement. While Marcus grappled with hard times, Michael showed the world how easy and fun playing quarterback can be, leading the Atlanta Falcons to 11 wins and the NFC championship game.

Odder still was how they coexisted. Marcus rarely talked to his brother about his troubles, and Michael refused to lecture him. They bonded over all-night video-game tournaments, not late-night talks.

"He already knew what was at stake, what his situation was and what he had to do to correct it," Michael said. "He's done a complete 180, and he's doing all of the right things. He's back to being himself."

That's due in large part, Marcus said, to his brother's unwavering support. …

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