Michael Vick told GQ Magazine in a recent interview that coming to Philadelphia three years ago after being released from Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary was not his choice. This has been reported through several media sources and was clearly planned by Vick to become public knowledge.
”I think I can say this now, because it’s not going to hurt anybody’s feelings, and it’s the truth,” Vick said. “I didn’t want to come to Philadelphia. Being the third-team quarterback [behind McNabb and Kolb] is nothing to smile about. Cincinnati and Buffalo were better options [for starting jobs].”
At the time NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and other league reps convinced Vick to sign with the Eagles forecasting that the structure, stability and winning tradition would be a positive influence on the troubled former superstar turned ex-convict.”I commend and thank them for what they did, because they put me in the right situation,” Vick said.
In a piece that reviews Vick’s dogfighting days and subsequently rediscovered bravado, Vick claims that he has evolved into the quarterback he is now on his own merits – specifically because the Eagles never tried to change him.
“I have always been an outstanding football player. I have always had uncanny abilities, great arm strength, an immense ability to play the game from a quarterback standpoint,” Vick said. “The problem was that I wasn’t given the liberty to do certain things when I was young. The reason I became a better player was because I came to Philly.”
So which is it? You didn’t want to come to Philly as you had better opportunity elsewhere but since no one else wanted you, it made sense to come to the Eagles? You credit the organization for helping you make the best of your situation despite the fact that they didn’t contribute to helping you evolve into the person and player you are because they didn’t try to change you? It had nothing to do with a change of mindset in prison or two years to think about the path that had brought him to be there?
“No,” he replied. “I had changed my life long before then. I was just with the wrong team at the wrong time.” This is the same guy who suffered a PR hit when there was a shooting incident at his 30th birthday party? Fan protests encouraged tripled police details at the Eagles first preseason game in anticipation of the fallout from Vick taking the field. Stop me if you haven’t heard all this before!
Vick is entitled to his opinion and I defend with my life his right to express it, but he also needs to understand that public statements have repercussions. Correct me if I’m reading this wrong considering my own bias, but is Michael Vick now attempting to convey to a gullible public that he got to where he is today completely upon his own merits, as testament to his personal fortitude and with no help or support from anyone else? How about Tony Dungy for going out of his way to establish a role as Vick’s counsel while visiting repeatedly in Leavenworth? What about Roger Goddell and the NFL for designing a probationary program that would allow Vick the opportunity to shop his wares in the NFL as a third string quarterback rather than having to play for the Canadian Football League or the UFL? Let’s not forget the fact that Andy Reid and the entire coaching staff had to be convinced to buy into the concept of bringing on a reclamation project like Vick. The players, team management and the fanbase were not all entirely thrilled when the subject was first broached.
Management bought in because if the plan worked, they would have very inexpensive but potentially valuable trade bait. Indeed that was the original plan, to trade McNabb AND Vick in 2009 or 2010 for coveted draft picks. Kevin Kolb was slated to be the Eagles QB and was named as such heading for the 2010 opener. Vick wasn’t traded because no other NFL team offered anything of value in trade so the Eagles were forced to keep Vick in order to save face. No one expected Vick to relieve the injured Kolb in Week One and set the league on fire but not even a self-determined nearly infallible NFL management team can deny results like that!
Now McNabb and Kolb are gone, Vick is the starting QB and the Eagles have to decide whether or not this “franchised” QB is indeed worthy of being a franchise QB with a long term contract. That contract is inexorably tied to the fate of DeSean Jackson who wants a gargantuan raise from his guaranteed $550,000 contract. One of these players can accept the franchise tag (currently Vick), meaning they would be paid on par with the average of the Top 5 players in the NFL at their position for one season– the other one can negotiate freely.
Oddly enough it was Vick who arrived at training camp informing the media that DeSean Jackson would probably not be arriving at camp on time, suggesting he might be a holdout. Then Jackson arrives a week later with Drew Rosenhaus trailing behind to negotiate a deal – only to depart two days later without a deal. Does this mean Jackson will play out his $550,000 contract for 2011 while Vick remains quiet playing out his $16M franchise contract? Perhaps if Vick would restructure his deal over a few years the Eagles could find the money to sign Jackson to a longer and larger-term guaranteed contract with requisite signing bonus? Perhaps they will wait until season’s end and let the Vampire Rosenhaus return to bleed the Eagles dry?
About the Author
Written by Christopher Rowe
Contributing writer Comcast Sports, NY Times contributing stringer 1996-2000, Contributing writer Yahoo Sports (2001 World Series). Contributing writer Newsday Long Island (1992-1994, Jets Training Camp) and Newak Star Ledger. Freelance Copywriter, Editor/Founder Atlantic Times Weekly (1993-2003) fantasy football magazine, produced screenwriter and general humorist. Hofstra University grad, Marist College honorary alum, Salesian; Purveyor of the Value and Valor of Philadelphia Eagles 1960 NFL Championship; Adrent believer that Eagles could have won Super Bowl XV...and Super Bowl XXXIX...plus modern decade of Eagles 5 NFC Championships... Believer in the Broad Street Bullies and the 1983 Sixers... Witness to Philadelphia Phillies World Series championships 1980 & 2008, Suffered Phillies first pro sports team to reach 10,000 losses,witnessed "1980 Cardiac Kids," 1983 "Wheeze Kids," 1993 "Macho Row" and many, many, many not-so-memorable seasons in-between... until the Philadelphia Baseball Renaissance of 21st Century, Five NL East division titles 2007-2011, 3 NLCS appearances 2008-2010, 2 consecutive World Series berths 2008 & 2009. 2008 World Champions of baseball [miss ya Harry and Richie]; "collector" of MLB ballparks (42 stadiums including 15 which are gone); Fantasy Football & Baseball player since 1992. Always a sports fan... Tenui Nec Dimittam Contact me firstname.lastname@example.org