The Cincinnati Bengals admitted they took a risk by drafting Joe Mixon with the 48th overall pick in this year’s draft and giving the young running back a second chance following a 2014 assault that many thought would cause him to go undrafted.
Few NFL players know more about the merit of second chances than Michael Vick, who spent 18 months in prison for his involvement in a dogfighting ring before re-entering the league in 2009.
Vick hopes Mixon has been humbled by the experience.
“Joe’s young, man, and he made a mistake,” Vick said, according to Connor Hughes of NJ Advance Media. “Let’s be honest, you rarely see guys having encounters like that. It should never happen. I would never condone it. I don’t think it’s right at all.
“But in terms of his football career, if he could go back and think about it before he actually made that gesture towards that girl, he wouldn’t have done it. Not if he knew what he would be dealing with now. … I think he has learned from it. Hopefully, he’s humbled by what happened to him.”
Mixon punched a female Oklahoma student, Amelia Molito, after a verbal exchange, leaving her with broken bones in her face. The incident was captured on security cameras and the tape was released in December 2016. On April 21, six days before the start of the draft, Mixon settled a lawsuit with Molito.
“Kids can use this as an example,” Vick said. “Joe got an opportunity because he’s an exceptional talent. Others don’t get that opportunity.”
While some will never forgive Vick, the retired quarterback dedicated himself to charitable organizations for animal rights upon his release from prison and never had another off-field incident during his second stint in the NFL from 2009-16.
The Bengals will likely be hoping Mixon can make a similar turnaround.
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