ATLANTA – Michael Vick apologized for making an obscene gesture toward Atlanta fans as he walked off the field after the Falcons' fourth straight loss Sunday. Vick used both hands to deliver the gesture and flashed an angry look toward the handful of fans remaining in the Georgia Dome.
Those who hung around booed the home team loudly after its dismal 31-13 loss to the New Orleans Saints.
"First and foremost, I would like to apologize for my inappropriate actions with fans today," the quarterback said in a statement released by the Falcons. "I was frustrated and upset at how the game was going for my team, and that frustration came out the wrong way."
Vick was the Falcons' main offensive threat with 166 yards rushing, just 7 off his NFL record for a quarterback. He had another rough day passing, completing nine of 24 for 84 yards, but that wasn't entirely his fault.
The Atlanta receivers dropped at least five passes, and the offensive line didn't provide much protection. Vick was sacked three times and hit a dozen more behind the line of scrimmage after throwing passes.
Leaving the field, he let his frustration get the best of him.
"That's not what I'm about. That's not what the Atlanta Falcons are about," Vick said in his statement. "I simply lost my cool in the heat of the moment. I apologize and look forward to putting this incident behind me."
Vick did not address his actions at a postgame news conference. Reporters were not aware that he made the obscene gesture until afterward, when replays of him leaving the field began airing on television.
"I can't explain how I'm feeling right now," Vick said during the news conference. "Losing the game says it all. It is not a good feeling when you lose four games in a row, and when you lose a game that you had a shot at winning."
Vick said he did his best to keep the Falcons (5-6) from losing again. This is the first time since 2003 that Atlanta has been below .500, and the team appears headed for another second-half collapse.
Last season, coming off a trip to the NFC championship game, the Falcons won six of their first eight games. But they went 2-6 the rest of the way, missed the playoffs and failed to break the franchise's ignominious streak of never having back-to-back winning seasons.
With the next two games on the road, Atlanta seems headed for another disappointing season.
"I was just out there fighting for this team, for pride and for this organization," Vick said. "We have to keep fighting. We have to show some resolve."