Michael Vick may finally be getting some clarity about his NFL future. Now all we need is some clarity about Michael Vick.
Vick is free to sign with an NFL team but may be suspended by commissioner Roger Goodell for the first four games of the season, ESPN is reporting. (UPDATE:NFL spokesman Greg Aiello is denying the report, sort of, writing on his Twitter account: “Despite what ESPN says, commish has made no decisions on MVick.”)
Vick has been on indefinite suspension since Aug. 24, 2007, following an indictment for dog-fighting and related charges that led to an eventual guilty plea. Goodell reportedly is going to opt for a conditional reinstatement that would allow him to sign with a team, even with the impending suspension. He is holding off on the announcement, waiting to see if Vick commits further transgressions, according to ESPN.
Maybe that’s not a bad idea.
I wrote the other day that I felt the commissioner needed to move on with reinstating the former Falcon so that the rest of us can move on with this issue. The longer the issue dragged out, the longer the healing process would be.
But then came a report Thursday on the website The Big Lead that Vick visited a strip club in Virginia Beach shortly after his home confinement ended and his ankle bracelet was removed. Vick, who denies the report, remains on probation. Certainly, visiting a strip club is not a parole violation. But it would show unparalleled stupidity on Vick’s part, given his No. 1 objective right now should be straightening out his life and improving his public image.
However, Vick’s camp is denying the strip club report. Allen Iverson, who was reported to have gone to the strip club with Vick, also shot down the story and said he hasn’t even seen Vick since his release.
NFL training camps begin next week. No team has yet publicly expressed interest in signing Vick. Several teams have said they won’t. That’s not surprising. While coaches and general managers are intrigued by Vick’s talents, they’re cognizant there will be an initial strong public relations backlash if they sign him. Even if the strip club report proves false, the fact such a story spread so quickly and dramatically illustrates the circus atmosphere that still surrounds the former Pro Bowler.
Vick and Goodell reportedly met for three hours Wednesday at Buckley Peterson Global, Inc., a security firm, in Allendale, N.J. But league officials would not confirm that or any details of Vick’s status.
The timing of Vick’s release, just before camps open, works against him. Camp rosters and quarterback depth charts are fairly set. Vick wouldn’t have time to absorb a new playbook for the upcoming season.
But many believe he could still contribute in a limited role. At least, starting in game five.