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Michael Vick told Roddy White he was destined for NFL stardom

Michael Vick and Roddy White will share the stage Monday when the Falcons honor the retirement of both players. AP Photo/John Bazemore

Roddy White couldn't recall the exact day, but the former Atlanta Falcons wide receiver remembered it was at OTAs during his rookie season.

White, the 27th overall pick in the 2005 NFL draft, was approached by quarterback Michael Vick, the first overall pick in 2001.

"He told me I was going to be a star in this league," White said of Vick. "He always believed in me from day one, from the time he met me and when we were going through OTA practices. Since that day, we always connected. We always had a bond."

Vick and White, teammates for two seasons with the Falcons, will share the stage Monday when the organization honors the retirement of both players with a special ceremony at owner Arthur Blank's family business office. Vick, who galvanized an entire city with his electric performances, spent his first six seasons with the Falcons and was named to three Pro Bowls before a 23-month prison sentence for running a dog-fighting operation ended his time with the organization. He was the first quarterback in league history to surpass 1,000 rushing yards in a season (1,039 in 2006).

"I love Mike, man," White said of Vick. "That's my guy to the end, no matter what. My locker was right across from his and we had a lot of conversations. He would invite me over to the house. And then I became close to his family. We just always stuck together."

White said one game with Vick stood out more than any other: a 38-28 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on a Saturday night inside the Georgia Dome. Vick, battling Tony Romo, threw four touchdown passes and had a 121.0 passer rating. White caught three passes for 104 yards, including a 52-yarder.

"I played really well and we connected on some passes," White said. "We played a game against the Saints and did some good stuff, too. One of the things I remembered was how good Mike was and how special he was, especially when the lights came on. He was just a different dude out there and basically unstoppable. Watching him rush for 1,000 yards as a quarterback and watching him throw for over 2,400 yards, that was amazing. To actually be a part of that was special."

White, who played 11 seasons with the Falcons and made four Pro Bowls, left as the franchise's all-time leading receiver with 10,863 yards on 808 catches with 63 touchdowns.

"Roddy is the single greatest competitor that I have ever coached," Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter, the former Falcons offensive coordinator, said Sunday. "Roddy brought a unique combination of toughness and swagger."

White earned the respect of the entire Falcons franchise.

"This [ceremony] just says how much they appreciated my time that I was there, and I'm grateful for that,'' White said. "I really do appreciate just them making the effort and making this stand out and having the whole ceremony. You know, they didn't have to do it.

"I'm really, really grateful."

So are Falcons fans for having Vick and White as their own.