If we told you about a decade ago the Atlanta Falcons would reach Super Bowl LI thanks to the efforts of their star quarterback, you’d probably assume that guy was Michael Vick.

Vick, after all, was at the height of his prime at the end of 2006. But we all know what happened next: He went to prison in 2007 for his role in an illegal dogfighting ring and never played for the Falcons again. Atlanta, meanwhile, took Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan third overall in the 2008 NFL Draft and never looked back.

Drafting Ryan was a logical move for the Falcons, but apparently it devastated Vick, who revealed Wednesday in a lengthy Players’ Tribune article that he still believed he’d return as Atlanta’s quarterback after he was released from prison.

Vick went so far as to describe April 26, 2008 — the day his grandmother suffered a stroke and the Falcons drafted Ryan — as the day he “hit rock bottom” and “lost the city of Atlanta.”

“Before that moment, I didn’t have much,” Vick wrote. “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.

“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.”

Vick insisted he has a “great relationship” with Ryan today and roots passionately for the Falcons. But his comments give a surprising look at how confident he was in picking up where he left off after prison — and how quickly that hope came crashing down.

Thumbnail photo via Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports Images