FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) - Michael Vick isn’t ready to break out the cane and rocking chair just yet.
Yes, the New York Jets quarterback will be 34 later this month and is the oldest player on the roster. And, sure, some of the team’s recent draft picks were 9 or 10 when Vick was drafted in 2001.
Just don’t call him “sir.”
Coach Rex Ryan laughed last week while recounting how one Jets fullback - either Tommy Bohanon or undrafted free agent Chad Young - recently said, “Yes, sir,” after taking direction from Vick in the huddle. And it took Vick completely by surprise.
“That baffled me a little bit,” a smiling Vick said Wednesday. “I’m not that old. I might be 10 or 12 years their senior, but you start calling me ‘sir,’ and I’ve got to start thinking about retirement.”
So, did Vick correct the youngster?
“I let it slide,” Vick said. “I let Rex get him. Rex laughed about it and we got a good laugh over it, but seriously, deep down, I really didn’t think it was funny.”
Sheesh. Kids these days, huh?
On the field, Vick still looks spry, running around at practice and flinging spirals all around the field.
“It’s pretty cool,” said 25-year-old wide receiver Jeremy Kerley. “I try not to be star-struck. He was my guy growing up. … Just to catch passes from him, it’s a special thing.”
Vick signed with the Jets in March to push Geno Smith at the quarterback position, giving New York a veteran who could potentially start - and succeed - if called upon.
There was a time, though, when Vick was the most dynamic player in the league. With his combination of running ability, arm strength and athleticism, Vick appeared at times to be something out of a video game.
You know, the ones in which some of his young Jets teammates used to pretend to be Vick.
“I get that all the time,” Vick said. “That’s not just in here. It’s all across the world or wherever I’m at. It’s a good thing, but it definitely makes me feel old. I can tell you that.”
Unlike in everyday life, 34 does qualify as “old” in professional sports. It’s an age at which athletic skills begin to deteriorate and questions about ability creep in. But, in Vick’s case, there is a general feeling - among his coaches, teammates and even himself - that he’s not close to hanging it up.