By Sarah Berkowitz

Ex-Eagles quarterback Michael Vick just announced that he was retiring from the NFL at age of 35.

No regrets.

But in an article for the Players Tribune he does open up about how he felt when Matt Ryan was drafted in 2008 by the Atlanta Falcons, the team he quarterbacked before he was sent to prison for dog-fighting:

I know sometimes people will say it’s like they’ve been “punched in the stomach” when something bad happens … but I’d never really understood the expression, until that moment. Matt Ryan. I just kept repeating his name, in my head, again and again. Every time I thought about what it meant, it took the air right out of me — but I couldn’t help it.

Matt Ryan. As in, the quarterback.

Before that moment, I didn’t have much. I didn’t have my money … or my reputation … or, worst of all, my freedom. But I did have one thing. I had those five words: Mike Vick, quarterback, Atlanta Falcons.

And once I heard, Matt Ryan, well … I didn’t have that either.

After that, I knew that everything had changed. I knew there was no going back — not to start for Atlanta, not to play for Atlanta, not even to live in Atlanta. Matt Ryan. After that, I knew it was over.

Matt Ryan. I just kept repeating his name, in my head, again and again.

My grandmother passed away less than a week later, and I filed for bankruptcy a few weeks after that. Not everybody can tell you the specific day that they hit rock bottom, but for me it isn’t hard: April 26, 2008. The day my mom had a birthday and my grandma had a stroke. The day the Falcons drafted Matt Ryan, quarterback out of Boston College.

The day I lost Atlanta.

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