BERNARDSVILLE — Michael Vick knows what it's like to make the kind of decision that haunts you for the rest of your life.
The former NFL quarterback also knows about trying to move past that mistake, and embracing a second chance.
And so when Vick looks at running back Joe Mixon, the Cincinnati Bengals' controversial draft pick this season, he hopes Mixon understands just how fortunate he is to be playing in the NFL.
"Joe got an opportunity," Vick said Monday at the Willie Colon Charity Golf Outing benefiting Lupus Research Alliance. "He's an exceptional talent. Other than that, he [wouldn't] get that opportunity. I think he's learned from it and hopefully he's humbled by what's happened to him."
Mixon, who starred in college at Oklahoma, has all the skills to be a successful NFL running back. He was projected to be a first round pick. But in July 2014, Mixon was arrested for punching Ameila Molitor in the face while in college.
Many teams viewed the incident as unacceptable and took Mixon off their draft board. Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan strongly hinted that the team wouldn't draft Mixon.
Mixon fell to the second round in last month's draft, where he was selected 48th overall by the Bengals.
Vick, of course, made his own terrible decision when he was one of the best and most popular players in football. He spent nearly two years in federal prison after being convicted for his role in a dogfighting ring.
That ugly incident remains a part of Vick's legacy -- it always will be. But after two years away of the league, Vick returned to play seven seasons and start 48 games with the Eagles, Jets and Steelers.
Vick has long said he hopes others can learn from his mistakes. And now, he hopes others can learn from Mixon's error, too -- including Mixon.
"He wouldn't have done it if he knew what he'd be dealing with now," Vick said of Mixon. "And I think kids have just got to use that as an example."
After his arrest, Mixon accepted a plea deal for misdemeanor assault and was suspended for the 2014 college football season. Security footage released to the public in December showed Molitor shove Mixon in the chest and slap him on the neck before Mixon knocked her to the ground with a right hand to the face. Molitor suffered several broken bones in her face as a result. Mixon and Molitor reached a settlement last month.
"Joe is young man, and he made a mistake," Vick said. "Let's be honest. You rarely see guys having encounters like that, and it should never happen. I never condone it, I don't think it's right at all."
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