He didn't rely on a meticulously edited statement authored by some overpaid publicist. He didn't make excuses for himself or act like he shouldn't be standing in front of the media less than an hour after pleading guilty to federal dogfighting charges. The man capitalized on whatever coaching he received from his legal team and then did something that was very necessary at this point: He spoke from the heart.
Whatever you think about Vick, you have to give him credit for taking the first step in turning his life around. He finally told the world that he understands the errors of his ways and that he's willing to do his best to start this long road to recovery.
From the moment he opened his mouth, I sensed he had thought long and hard about how best to handle his first comments since due process had run its course. After he left the podium, without answering a single question, it was apparent he had accepted his punishment and the boneheaded decisions that had led to it.
I'm not sorry that he didn't take any questions from the reporters in the audience. His lawyers wouldn't have allowed it, for one, but he didn't have to go through an inquisition. Explanations at this point don't mean much to me.
Vick hit all the important points. He apologized to practically everybody connected to him in the NFL and hoped that other young people could learn from his immature mistakes. That was more than enough.
In fact, I'd argue that Vick -- who's notoriously bad in front of microphones and cameras -- has never handled himself better in front of the media. He was sincere and succinct, displaying the type of focus that surely would've kept him out of this trouble if he had applied it years ago.
It was a good enough performance to make me believe in his chances at redemption. Not as a football player, but as a man.
Jeffri Chadiha is a senior writer for ESPN.com.