*Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, who lost NFL riches and went to prison after becoming reviled for running a dog fighting operation, on Tuesday signed his first endorsement deal since serving 18 months in federal prison.

The athlete signed a two-year contract with gridiron padding producer Unequal Technologies (UT), according to the Associated Press.

“We’re real excited about it,” UT chief executive officer Rob Vito said. “Michael is good people. He paid his dues. President Obama reached out to him. He deserves an opportunity. This is what makes America so great.”

The company states in a press release, “When Vick’s ribs were injured after being drilled by a pair of Washington Redskins, the Eagles equipment staff contacted Unequal to build a lightweight, comfortable, flexible vest that could withstand the force of a NFL style blitz. Unequal answered the call with its EXOskeleton™ technology that it originally developed for the military. Vick used the Unequal Chest Protector in the November 7th game against the Indianapolis Colts to protect his ribs. After the game Vick said the Unequal Pad made him feel invincible.”

“I’m thrilled to be a part of the Unequal team. I have been wearing Unequal chest protectors, shoulder pads, and thigh pads for much of the late and post-season — resulting in pain-free playing,” stated Vick. “The Unequal technology is a part of my game now and I won’t play without my Unequal. Unequal’s protective power gives me a whole new level of confidence in my game.”

When playing for the Atlanta Falcons, Vick was the NFL’s top-paid player and a star for six seasons, but his 2007 arrest and the spiral that followed left him despised by many, particularly by dog lovers, after court documents revealed how he brutally killed losing dogs.

Vick returned to the NFL in 2009 when the Eagles signed him and he worked his way into a starting role last season, leading Philadelphia into the playoffs.

Vick appeared in a car commercial last month but only in exchange for the use of a vehicle.