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Welcome Back Michael Vick (Well Sort Of)

Posted on July 27, 2009 by Dean Hybl
Michael Vick could be back in the NFL this season if a team is willing to take a chance on the former top pick.

Michael Vick could be back in the NFL this season if a team is willing to take a chance on the former top pick.

After weeks of speculation and rumors, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has officially brought Michael Vick back into the NFL fold with the potential for him being back on the field by the sixth week of the 2009 season.

Of course there is a catch (isn’t there always?).

It doesn’t really matter if he can attend training camp, play in the final two games of the preseason and apply for full reinstatement following the fifth week of the season if no team is willing to give him a uniform.

Even though he now has the blessing of the Commissioner, Vick needs the blessing of some NFL owner and coach willing to deal with the distraction that will inevitably come with his return to the NFL.

Unfortunately for him, it seems that teams seem to be falling all over themselves to announce that they aren’t interested in the former overall number one draft pick.

It is just the latest illustration of how much things have changed for Vick since his days as the most electrifying players in the NFL.

I am glad that rather than drawing this thing out for another few weeks, Goodell has shown his cards and hopefully started to put things in motion for this ugly situation to eventually move off the front page.

There certainly will be another media firestorm if Vick signs with a team, but by giving him a chance to have some normalcy through participation in training camp and off-the-field drills during the first weeks of the season, by the time Vick puts on a uniform for a real game the story shouldn’t be as high profile as it has been.

Especially considering that even if Vick does get signed this season, it is unlikely that he will see extensive action on the field.

I would think that even those in the media who have been insistent on chronicling everything they possibly can about the Vick situation will eventually get tired of showing pictures and video clips of him standing on the sidelines holding a clipboard.

Given his unquestioned athletic ability, you would think there would be at least one NFL team chomping at the bit to bring Vick into the fold, especially now that the Wildcat offense has become the offense de jour.

While there were always questions about Vick’s passing ability, no one has ever questioned his running prowess.

In case you have forgotten–and it is certainly possible given that he hasn’t played since the 2006 season–Vick rushed for 3,859 yards (averaging 7.3 yards per carry) in his six seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. In 2006, he became the first quarterback in NFL history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season.

Surely some coach and offensive coordinator would welcome the chance to line Vick up in the backfield and see what confusion he can cause for the opposing defense.

However, unless a team is doing something that is almost unthinkable in the modern NFL–making a high-profile personnel decision without first tipping off Chris Mortensen, Jay Glazer or John Clayton–it doesn’t appear that Vick has many legitimate suitors.

Michael Vick is ready for the images of him surrounded by polic officers and lawyers to be replaced by those of him being surrounded by offensive linemen.

Michael Vick is ready for the images of him surrounded by police officers and lawyers to be replaced by those of him being surrounded by offensive linemen.

Instead, it appears that Vick’s best option may end up being the fledgling United Football League, which is scheduled to begin play with four teams in October.

Vick has already been designated for the Orlando team and would certainly provide the league with instant notoriety and increased publicity.

The UFL would also provide Vick with a better opportunity to see immediate action at the quarterback position.

While some NFL teams are reluctant to bring in Vick because of his recent past and the circus that would surround him, a more substantial reason that interest in Vick has been minimal is because he hasn’t played an organized game in two years and would have to get rid of his rust while also learning a new offense.

Playing in the UFL would give him a chance to get game experience, rather than simply seeing some action in practice and then holding a clipboard on Sundays. He then could be positioned to return to the NFL in 2010 as a potential starter, rather than as a third string quarterback.

However, even if the UFL is a better fit and would likely give him a larger initial payday, you can bet that if given any choice at all, Vick will opt for a return to the NFL.

If nothing else, it appears Vick has a pretty clear understanding of all that he has lost, and knows that the best chance to start rebuilding his reputation and career is by getting back into an NFL uniform.

Heck, after what he has been through in the last two years, even sitting on the end of the bench in the NFL is significantly better than sitting in Leavenworth.

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