Michael Vick was found guilty, served his sentence and should now be free to resume his career as a professional football player … as long as it’s not with my team.
As funny as it sounds, that’s honestly how I feel these days.
If Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, wants to suspend him four games or so, that’s fine. But regardless of my personal feelings on the crimes he was found guilty of; Vick has paid his debt to society and deserves the chance to move forward. And yet, even though that’s the way I feel, I simply don’t want him to end up on my favorite team, the Washington Redskins.
For starters, there is going to be a circus-type atmosphere surrounding the former Atlanta Falcons star all season long. Unless you’re the Dallas Cowboys, who seemingly thrive on that type of media frenzy, that’ll be a huge deterrent for many franchises who might otherwise be tempted to kick the tires on Vick.
Then there’s the fact that he hasn’t played football in two years. And let’s be honest here – he’s never been a true drop-back quarterback, which means Vick needs to end up in a system where the coaches are smart enough to find ways to best utilize him. I’m not saying the Redskins coaching staff is dumb, but they don’t necessarily strike me as the kind of guys who go out of their way to re-write the playbook for one or two guys (see: Taylor, Jason).
Plus, there’s the whole issue of Vick calling Virginia home. If he ended up signing with the ‘Skins, you can bet the PETA-types of the world would absolutely show up at Redskins Park, FedEx Field and anywhere else they thought he might appear. It’s almost as if D.C. is too close to the scene of the crime, which is why I can’t help but think it’d be good for everyone involved if Vick started the next chapter of his life a little further removed from all of the raw emotions.
So where does Vick end up? Honestly, it’s tough to say. Sure, the Oakland Raiders are calling him in hopes he’ll don the silver and black, but they’re so terrible he’d be better off going almost anywhere else.
Some suggest San Francisco, with a strong-minded leader like Mike Singletary, would be a good fit, but I’m not sure that’s a good idea. Regardless of the mindset of the 49ers, San Fran is a very liberal place with very liberal people. A couple years ago, the wife and I spent Christmas out there with her family and I quickly realized just how different people are out there.
You see, on Christmas day, one of the first news stories on the local news channel was about someone calling herself “Dumpster Muffin.” Seriously, that’s what the bottom of the screen said when they interviewed her. You can’t make this shit up. And she was on TV because she had climbed up in some tree in hopes of convincing “The Man” not to remove said tree to build … whatever.
If the “Dumpster Muffins” of the world go off the deep end for a freaking tree, what will their reaction be if/when someone tied to dog fighting becomes the newest millionaire in town?
So even if the 49ers really think they should roll the dice and bring in Vick, they might have to re-evaluate the situation and how it would affect things off the field. Which brings us back to square one – if the Redskins, 49ers and Raiders aren’t going to work, then where could/should Vick land?
Honestly, I think the Minnesota Vikings would be the ideal team for the man formerly known as Ron Mexico. Their quarterback situation was ugly enough that they tried to land Brett Favre, so why not roll the dice on Vick? If nothing else, he’s better than Sage Rosenfels and Tavaris Jackson. It makes absolutely no sense that a team with one of the top-players in the league at any position (running back Adrian Peterson), a team that has stout offensive and defensive lines and could otherwise compete with the league’s elite, would continually ignore the QB position.
Why not sign Vick to a veteran’s minimum contract with incentives? If he works out, you’re in great shape. If not, you cut him and move on.
Plus, if PETA wants to protest, they have to go all the way up to Moose Knuckle, Minnesota and freeze their nuts off to picket the move. The more I think of this, the more I’m convinced this needs to happen.
Brian Murphy is an award-winning sportswriter who also goes by the name Homer McFanboy. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.