Even in the midst of several NFL sources saying that Commissioner Roger Goodell is most likely going to continue Michael Vick’s indefinite suspension throughout the 2009 NFL Season once his released from federal custody on July 20.
The USA Today Huddle blog put out a great piece going through the potential landing spots within the league’s 32 franchises for the free agent suspended NFL quarterback.
To Vick supporters, even though Goodell has continually been a tough guy when it comes to player discipline, which could make the Vick suspension reports true, he does seem to also have a “second chance” mentality too as shown in his treatment of problem players like Adam “Pacman” Jones, Matt Jones, Tank Johnson, Chris Henry, and others.
Also If Goodell does continue Vick’s indefinitely suspension, it could open himself and the NFL to an appeal by the NFLPA and threats of collusion against a player that has spent nearly two yeas in jail for his dogfighting acts.
I know a large portion of the American populace are dog lovers, but I cannot fathom “how” so many can vilify Michael Vick yet not be as passionate regarding the cases/punishments given to other NFL players like Rams DE Leonard Little—an eight-game suspension and 90 days in jail for killing a St. Louis woman in 1998 while drunk driving.
Granted Little’s cases was on the watch of former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, but no matter how heinous Vick’s acts were against his fighting dogs, and let’s not fool ourselves they were despicable, there were no dead human beings left in his wake.
I know Little, Adam “Pac Man” Jones, Donte Stallworth, and others do not stand alone as NFLers who have crossed the judicial line, but the Commissioner and the court of public opinion need to give Vick another chance.
Already former Super Bowl winning head coach Tony Dungy and others in NFL circles have echoed sentiments that Vick—career passing numbers of 930-1730, 11505 yards, 71 TDs, 52 INTs, and a 75.7 rating in six years w/ the Falcons—deserves his chance at redemption after serving his debt to society.
I believe that NFL teams and their owners should decide on their own if the former first overall selection from the 2001 NFL Draft is worth the headache that he brings. I truly believe once his anticipated meeting with Goodell happens, that the NFL and some owner will give Vick another shot, picketers or not.
Of course Vick will have to take any opportunity he gets to return to the NFL which could include duties as a Wildcat QB, slot receiver, returner, and back-up quarterback.
These teams could all take a chance on Vick:
St. Louis Rams (GM Bill Devaney has former ties to Vick from their Falcons days and current starting quarterback Marc Bulger has not been playing at a Pro Bowl level lately).
Oakland Raiders (Owner Al Davis, a maverick himself, believes in second chances).
Dallas Cowboys (Owner Jerry Jones seems to be running the NFL’s version of a reform school lately and the charismatic leader of the Cowboys also needs better “Romo Insurance” than current back-up Jon Kitna).
San Francisco 49ers (Head Coach Mike Singletary and Offensive Coordinator believe in second chances plus starter Shaun Hill’s name is not written in stone).
Jacksonville Jaguars (need a better backup to inconsistent starter David Garrard than Todd Bouman).
Of course the United Football League (UFL) is an option too, if Vick indefinite suspension is upheld, as recently league founder Bill Hambrecht said, “(Vick) deserves a spot back in football”
Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA