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By Jay Anderson

America has a peculiar love/hate relationship with professional athletes. We love them when they’re playing well. We think they’re overpaid, whiny babies when they don’t. We build them up to tear them down, only to then (sometimes) build them back up again. We have watched some of our favorite athletes fall from the heights of sports success, to the depths of injury and incarceration – only to praise their resurrections. Here are 10 such tales of destruction, redemption and in some cases intense struggle back to the pinnacle of athletic achievement.

 

Michael Vick

After spending time in jail for dogfighting, Vick’s climb back to the top has been slow, but steady. After a season as the Eagles’ third string quarterback, a combination of luck of hard work has thrust Vick back into the starting lineup and superstardom. By ringing up 3,018 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2010, the once discarded Vick was given the franchise tag by the team in February, and recently signed a new deal with Nike. Vick’s challenges has changed him into an appreciative man that brands want to identify with again.

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