QB promises to follow in Michael's footsteps
BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Marcus Vick returned to practice with Virginia Tech on Wednesday, apologizing for the indiscretions that cost him a season on the field and pledging to take advantage of another chance to follow in his brother's footsteps.
He re-enrolled in mid-January, and the Hokies started spring practice Wednesday.
"I want to apologize for my actions to my family, to my school, to my teammates and to everyone that looked up to me," the 21-year-old junior said. "I want to take advantage of the opportunity that Coach Beamer and the school have given me."
Vick was suspended after he was arrested, along with teammates Mike Imoh and Brenden Hill, for giving alcohol to 14- and 15-year-old girls last February. He avoided jail by pleading no contest to a misdemeanor charge and a fine in September.
Vick also later pleaded guilty to reckless driving and no contest to marijuana possession after police stopped him last July.
As part of a plea agreement in that case, Vick was placed in a drug offender program that required him to perform 24 hours of community service, undergo drug counseling and random drug tests and give up his driver's license for six months.
Vick said he spent much of his time away from school in Atlanta with his brother and watched the Hokies on television when he could.
In Vick's absence, the Hokies went 10-3, won the Atlantic Coast Conference title in their first season in the league and lost 16-13 to No. 3 Auburn in the Sugar Bowl.
"Knowing that I couldn't perform with them, that was a bad feeling," he said,
Vick said the support of his brother and Hokies coach Frank Beamer helped him through. He also received some advice from Philadelphia 76ers guard Allen Iverson, a fellow Hampton Roads native whom Vick sought out.
Vick played in 11 games as the backup to Bryan Randall in the 2003 season after sitting out a redshirt year. He completed 30 of 57 passes for 475 yards, two touchdowns and five interceptions, ran for 102 yards and had four receptions for 82 yards.
With Randall gone, Vick will compete for a starting job.
"I plan to take a leadership role. I'm going to stay focused and do what I have to do on and off the field. I'm going to keep a clean head," he said.
Vick begins his return third on the depth chart, with sophomores Sean Glennon and Cory Holt listed ahead of him, but said he hopes to earn the job in workouts.
"I think when you want it, you have to go get it," he said.
Beamer welcomed Vick back on a rainy, windy day that wasn't great for throwing and said he feels confident that the mistakes are in the past.
"Marcus is a good person who made a couple of questionable decisions," said Beamer, heading into his 19th year. "He's headed in the right direction to get things right. He appreciates what he has here and he's going to work hard to keep it."
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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