FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Michael Vick's frustrations with
fading playoff hopes and unexpected insults from home fans caused
him to flash an obscene hand gesture on Sunday.
Vick, who apologized in a written statement late Sunday for
making the gesture toward fans with both hands following the
crushing 31-13 loss to New Orleans, vowed on Monday to never make
the same mistake.
"I would have never thought that six years into my career I
would ever do something like that," Vick said.
"It will never happen again. Never."
Vick rushed for 166 yards in the loss, only 7 yards shy of his
NFL record for a game by a quarterback. But his efforts couldn't
make up for an otherwise dismal performance that included at least
five dropped passes by receivers and breakdowns in the secondary
and on the offensive line.
The Falcons (5-6) heard loud boos following their fourth
straight loss. Vick said that as he walked off the Georgia Dome
field he heard an especially disturbing insult from a male fan.
"He just said certain things I won't say in front of this
camera," Vick said at a news conference. "It was very
inappropriate. I was down, upset, frustrated. I just did one thing
I've never done through all the games I've ever lost, no matter how
frustrated I've been after a game. I don't know where it came from,
but the people who know me know that's not me and that's not my
Vick again apologized.
"I'm sorry and I apologize to all the young kids and to whoever
saw me make that gesture," he said. "I just let my emotions get
the best of me in that situation and it won't happen again."
Falcons coach Jim Mora said the incident was isolated.
"Mike offered a very sincere apology and that's all I can say
about it," Mora said. "He obviously felt bad about it. He came
forward right away and issued an apology and I'll let it stand at
I would have never thought that six years into my career I
would ever do something like that. It will never happen again. Never."
-- Michael Vick
"To me that's out of character for Mike, what he did. The Mike
Vick I know, he appreciates the fans. It was more of just real
frustration. I know he's contrite. His apology stated that."
Mora said Vick's action was not a sign of other problems on the
"The things you typically see when there is frustration is
backstabbing and backbiting and finger-pointing and we're not
seeing that," Mora said. "I'm not seeing it internally. I'm not
seeing that with our players. If there's a positive, that's a
Mora's frustrations showed during the game when he fell to both
knees while reacting to a dropped pass by Roddy White, who was open
near the Saints 10 in the fourth quarter.
White, a first-round pick in 2005, has been unable to hold a
starting job due to inconsistent play.
Mora said an even more unlikely blow to the Falcons' hopes came
on the final play of the first half. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees' desperation pass was caught by Terrance Copper for a 48-yard
touchdown as three Falcons defenders failed to deflect the ball.
"I called timeout before the 'Hail Mary' to make sure we're in
the right defense," Mora said Monday. "That was the first time,
in my 22nd or 23rd year coaching ball, that's the first time I've
had a 'Hail Mary' caught on me. Man. It just comes down to making
The Falcons have fallen from first to third in the NFC South and
now face road games at Washington and Tampa Bay. One season after
the team finished 8-8 following a 6-2 start, the Falcons are fading
again following a 5-2 start.
"I'm all about playing in the big games and getting to the big
games and just enjoying football," Vick said. "It's kind of
reality setting in that we're in the situation we're in now, and if
we don't make the playoffs that's two years back to back that we
didn't accomplish our No. 1 goal at the beginning of the season,
and it's going to be very disappointing.
"I'm trying to do everything in my power to prevent that.
That's why I ran the ball the way I did yesterday."
No matter the frustrations of another loss, Vick said he
realizes he can't lose control.
"This is the fish bowl we're in," he said. "We've got to come
out and put on a show.
"Fans want to see you win and they pay their money to see you
put on a good show, and when we don't they've got every right to
say what they want to. We've got to be professionals and handle it
the way we're supposed to, and just shake it off and come back the
next week and make them scream instead of boo."