The NFL has a chance to make a real statement with having Michael Vick succeed in making an NFL roster. However, with the ball in the red zone, the league has decided to take the proverbial knee before going into half-time.
There are several teams in the NFL who need a back-up quarterback. However, the Green Bay Packers are the only team to express some interest.
As a quarterback, Vick was always knocking on the door of being an All-Pro and was consistently one of the top six in his position. Yes, Vick has been in prison for two years and his skills are rusty. But really, can anyone honestly say that Vick wouldn't warrant at least a look as a back-up quarterback for at least half the teams in the league? Fans in Minnesota put Vick ahead of part-time starter Tavaris Jackson on sportscaster Randy Perkins fan poll as to who they would like to see as the starter of the Vikings.
Several teams are experimenting with the "wildcat" formation to put defenses on their heels. Teams with the luxury of having the talent to use the wildcat formation feel that they are at a distinct advantage. Yes, Vick has not scrambled away from a defensive end for more than two years. However, Viking fans remember, if they have not been treated with electric shock therapy, Vick scrambling out of the pocket to score a game winning touchdown from more than 50 yards from scrimmage.
Vick's mere presence on the field would likely change the dynamics of how the defense would line up. The possibility of Vick lining up in the slot on third down would definitely cause heartburn for several defensive coordinators. There has to be some offensive coordinators in the league that would like to have the ability to create a mis-match on the field by putting Vick on the field. If Ali could comeback to the boxing ring to reclaim his title, it is plausible that Vick could find his way on to a roster in the NFL.
Vick is emblematic of the problem African-Americans with criminal records have in re-entering the work force. He has the skills to be successful, but no employer wants to deal with the back lash if Vick fails. Unfortunately, for all of society, there are more than a million people with a criminal record that have difficulty securing work and need for someone to give them a chance. Any public relations hit by PETA in hiring Vick would be offset by other groups in support of re-entry of individuals back into society.
The NFL is missing the opportunity to be a leader on this issue.
Coach Dungy left the limelight of coaching in the NFL to minister to young men who have been incarcerated. Coach Tony Dungy has met and continues to work with Vick. It is difficult to think of a better mentor for Vick or for an unofficial goodwill ambassador for the NFL to explain the need to protest groups to provide Vick a second chance than Coach Dungy. The Commissioner has already provided cover to each of the teams in the league by indicating that he intends to monitor Vick's associates going forward.
Now is the time for some more teams other than the Packers to step forward to meet with Vick. Teams need to stop being so conservative. Of course, playing it safe by taking a knee is probably why those teams are always watching the playoffs at home.