When Michael Vick walks out of the United States Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas from his incarceration for his involvement in a dog fighting ring, he will be in a load of debt and his name will be on the tips of many football general managers’ and owners’ tongues. The Associated Press reported that the Falcoms organization is seeking to trade the rights to Vick. In late February, word came that Vick would finish his sentence with home confinement where his travel would be restricted by a probation officer.
After his release and the terms of his probation are determined, the matter of punishment from the NFL must be settled. As things stand now, Vick is banned indefinitely. Now we all know that term is just a word and this could change, but Roger Goodell has not shown himself to take punishments lightly. In fact, he is much more of a taskmaster than his predecessor and his letter to Vick after the indictments was rather scathing. If the NFL holds to the ban and/or suspension, rule out the Canadian Football League as well. The CFL, since 2007, honors the suspensions of NFL players. Then, there are the rumors of the United Football League bringing Vick back to football (Read Terry McCormick’s recent article in The City Paper for more on this).
What should Vick do if/when he is reinstated to the NFL? Here are two thoughts:
Give up Playing Quarterback
Making a switch to either receiver (where he could presumably play in the slot positions) or running back makes the most sense for Vick at this stage of his career. Granted many experts say Vick would be great at the “Wildcat” position, but I see this as a trend that may last one more season at most as defensive coaches in the league do not take a lot of time to catch up to fads from the offense. The modern NFL offense is comprised of playmakers – guys who make things happen either through their precise play or by getting the ball in space. If Vick has any speed left in those legs, he would be well-served to seriously consider changing positions. For teams considering making a move for his services, Vick’s talent was, at one time, limitless it seemed. If he has retained any of that from his time in prison (where he reportedly played football of some sort), he is worth the chance just to see what he can do on the field.
Michael Vick is not worth his remaining contract as it stands now. This will be a hard lesson for him, but he should accept it and take any opportunity to play. He will still make way above the league minimum and will have the chance to land a big contract after he proves his worth once again. When Randy Moss left Oakland for New England, he had to earn his way back into the upper salary echelon. Vick will have to do likewise.
Since finally admitting his involvement and guilt, Vick has remained repentant for his actions and this is something he must maintain in order to win over fans skeptical of his character. Vick’s chances of being the “face of a franchise” again are slim at best. I have no doubt the NFL will have him on every kind of goodwill in the community event it can muster. Vick should avoid becoming a spokesman for PETA. Some things are best left in the past.
All of this can change any minute as there are many steps ahead for Michael Vick as he re-enters society. Rest assured, much like some of those electrifying plays from scrimmage, the Michael Vick saga is far too interesting not to watch. The only thing more magnetic than a train wreck is watching people walk away from it.