Advice to Michael Vick: Pass on the NFL for '09

abc defContributor IMay 30, 2009

RICHMOND, VA - AUGUST 27:  Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick speaks to reporters at the Omni Richmond Hotel after agreeing to a guilty plea on charges stemming from his involvement in a dogfighting ring August 27, 2007, in Richmond, Virginia.  (Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images)

Only 10 days out of prison, and Michael Vick is already on the mind of every NFL fan. 

Some are clamoring for the quarterback’s speed and game-making abilities for their team, while others are waking in the middle of the night, terrified of the inconsistency and baggage he will bring. 

But it has become almost of a formality that every fan believes the disgraced star will return this season.  That would be a mistake, considering there’s a league already waiting for him with open arms: the United Football League.

Just think about it in simple terms.  Vick’s has been incarcerated for a whopping 23 months.  Sure, he may have stayed “in shape” by playing basketball and working out, but we are talking about the NFLthe league where only the strongest and quickest athletes survive. 

Can Vick really be in NFL-shape when his sentence is up Jul. 20?  For a player who always relied on his out-of-this-world speed to gain yards due to his limited football IQ and impatience in the pocket, it is difficult to imagine how effective he can be.

Assuming Vick wants to remain at quarterback, the opportunities remain scarce.  The Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco 49ers, and Seattle Seahawks seem like the only logical destinations.

But therein lies the next problem: the distance from his home in Virginia.  With a crippled ego and the challenge of reacquainting himself with his fiancée, children and mother, a move to the Midwest, West Coast, or Northwest just seems irrational.  Not to mention the time spent in daily practices to win the quarterback competition. None are good fits if he wants to regain respect and love from his family.

And what about if he loses the quarterback competition?  Does he or the franchise want him to be regulated to just a decoy on offense?  A decoy on offense targeted by PETA and members of the media equates to a simple cut. 

This is why the best fit for the 6'0'' quarterback is the Orlando franchise of the United Football League.  With the UFL, brings a league with owners embracing Vick, as well as immediate cash, playing time, and close proximity to his fans and family.  With the troubled star bankrupt, he will need as much money as he can obtain.  With a cap of $20 million per team, Vick will likely be able to land a guaranteed $4 million deal.

But it is the playing time, which is most imperative.  Not putting on pads or playing in a football game for over a year is an arduous adjustment for anyone, let alone someone who was in jail.  If he can transition successfully and regain his athleticism, he will lead Orlando to the Thanksgiving championship game. 

With a year of success and good conduct, general managers and owners of the NFL will be more open to signing Vick to a lucrative contractespecially since the issue of dog fighting will have cooled down for a year.

With Orlando already interested in signing Vick, this gives him an opportunity to stay close to his family and loyal Falcons fans.  He won’t have to adjust to a new culture, nor practically push aside his family to make football priority No. 1. 

Overall, a move like this may not be the most popular choice, but it is the most logical.  Judging from his previous actions, I think it’s safe to say Vick should start making the most logical choices instead of the most popular ones, right?