Bradley’s Buzz: Michael Vick goes free, but to do what?

Is the Wildcat the wild card in Vick’s future?

As of today, Michael Vick will no longer be in federal custody. The obvious and much-debated question: What’s next? The non-answer: Nobody knows.

In Sporting News Today, Albert Breer breaks down the now-familiar issues and Vinny Iyer lists six NFL teams that might be willing to hire Vick. (San Francisco, Miami, Jacksonville, Washington, Oakland, Seattle.) Two weeks ago Sports Illustrated, in an article by L. Jon Wertheim and Jack McCallum, examined the bigger picture: Hasn’t Vick already paid a higher price than most erring athletes?

But a key question can only be answered by Vick: Is it more important for him to play quarterback as he once played quarterback or to play in the NFL? Because those aren’t necessarily the same things anymore.

Vick’s best chance to find quick NFL employment might be to agree to serve as a designated implementer of the Wildcat formation. (This assumes Roger Goodell clears Vick to play, which the guess here is that he will soon enough.) If nothing else, it would change the loaded dynamics for the team doing the hiring: The club could say, “We know all about Vick’s crimes and his reputation, but we didn’t sign him to be our No. 1 quarterback — he’s here to play a supporting role.”

The Vick I used to know — I haven’t talked with him in more than two years, as you might guess — would have rejected such a notion. He considered himself a pure, if stylized, quarterback. He vented to me in the locker room at Miami in 2005 after one of his finest passing performances, saying:

“I’m not just one thing. I can throw, and I can also run. I’ve got another way of beating you — is that my fault? … People forget I passed for almost 3,000 yards in ‘02 — I was 60 yards short [66, to be precise]. I’ve got in it me, man. But sometimes I come out and I’m not accurate, and that’s on me … People say I can’t throw the ball from the pocket. I’m not trying to prove anything to the world because I know what I can do. … I feel like I answered [the question] today, and I don’t ever want to hear it again.”

Vick's best chance to break back into the NFL would be as:

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Indeed, that summer Vick had been featured on cover of Sports Illustrated proclaiming: “I AM a quarterback.” And I understand how deeply this issues matters — or mattered — to him. But I’m wondering if a guy of tarnished reputation in search of a job can make demands. I’m wondering if the best course wouldn’t be to work his way back into the league gradually.

I’m thinking that, for Michael Vick’s next life, being a ‘Cat might be the logical next step. But maybe that’s just me.

Was J-Chill given the big chill by the Hawks?

Here’s a good story by Charles Odum — he’s based in Atlanta — of the Associated Press, in which Josh Childress claims the reason he’s headed back to play in Greece for Olympiakos was because the Hawks played “hardball” with him this summer and he ran out of time to make any sort of sign-and-trade deal with another NBA team. More Childress:

“The Hawks were definitely in my scope. I spent four years there. I’m familiar with the team and the organization. I’m familiar with the city. I still have a home there. I think it just came down to whether or not I felt like negotiations would move forward with them. I really didn’t, just being quite honest …

“I just think there needs to be some kind of agreement where both parties meet in the middle. This idea of hardball is kind of old. I’m not the type of guy that’s gonna bad mouth and do all the other things. I’ve kind of been the kind of guy who wants to move forward and get something done.”

Having said all that, Childress also said he’d be open to returning to the Hawks — they’ll still hold his rights next summer — for the 2010-11 season. But I wouldn’t hold my breath.

And speaking of basketball …

From Jeff Goodman of FoxSports.com comes this post from the Peach Jam, a summer camp in Augusta, Ga. Goodman writes that guard Iman Shumpert had issues with Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt last season. “I thought I had all the answers,” Goodman quotes Shumpert as saying. “Last season definitely humbled me because I didn’t adapt to the college game.”

Also this: ““I changed [my free-throw routine to suit Tech's coaches], but I wasn’t happy about it. Coach Hewitt and I battled about stupid stuff.”

From Fran Fraschilla, an ESPN.com Insider, comes this about Shumpert (link requires registration): “If Georgia Tech turns it around, Shumpert will be the key reason why. He should make a huge leap from his freshman to sophomore season.”

The key reason? Maybe not. From Jeff Fox of Slam Online comes a look at the top 10 prospects for the 2010 NBA draft: No. 2 is Derrick Favors of Georgia Tech, behind only John Wall of Kentucky.

Tech hoops coach ignores Bradley!

It appears Paul Hewitt, surely through some oversight, has failed to bookmark this ol’ blog on his computer. According to esteemed former colleague Jeff D’Alessio, who’s now at Sporting News Today, Hewitt’s favorite bookmarks are: FoxSports.com, ESPN.com, SI.com and CNN.com. (Thanks to reader Tony Tate for the tip on this one.)

And now my tip to Mr. Hewitt: It’s http://blogs.ajc.com/mark-bradley-blog/. You can even make it your home page!

243 comments Add your comment

Chris

July 20th, 2009
11:00 am

Mark,
Your guess is that Goodell clears him for this year? I think he’s in no hurry and he wants his pound of flesh..suspends him one year but hope I’m wrong. The wildcat option seems very viable.

What do you think about him being part of a team as a punt and kickoff returner? He makes people miss almost as well as Hester and that’s a part of his abilities most likely to not have suffered much. I doubt he’d enjoy that job but it is a high paying job.

Who Really Cares??

July 20th, 2009
11:03 am

On Vick’s potential future….who cares??

Marcus

July 20th, 2009
11:08 am

Iinteresting. MB. Prepare for the onslaught, if you haven’t already. I was contemplating that same question last week:
If Vick comes back as QB, will a team be willing to put him in as a No. 2, being an injury away from being the starter? Couple that with his absence and the change of QB play since he left, that makes a dicey No. 2.

Add to that, if he signs on as a No. 3 (emergency) QB, I don’t know NFL rules will allow him to be a ‘Wildcat’ because I thought that the rules say that if the No. 3 QB comes into the game, the No. 1 QB cannot return unless there are some extenuating circumstances (can’t remember what).

So, even if he is allowed back in the league, there seems to be other issues/nuances to get him on the field

Mark Bradley

July 20th, 2009
11:11 am

I think Vick will play in the NFL in 2009. Maybe not in September, but by November.

But that is nothin’ but a WAG — a wide-angled guess.

FALCONS SORRY

July 20th, 2009
11:14 am

ATL ESPECIALLY THAT WORTHLESS AUTHUR BLANK THREW AWAY ITS BEST EVER CHANCE AT BEING A CHAMPION WHEN IT TURNED ITS BACK ON VICK! HE WAS THE BEST THING TO EVER HAPPEN TO PRO SPORTS IN THIS WHOLE SORRY STATE AND THERE WILL NEVER BE ANOTHER LIKE HIM TO COME ALONG! WHEN VICK IS HOLDING UP THAT BEAUTIFUL SUPPER BOWL TROPHY FOR NEW ENGLAND OR CAROLINA OR DALLAS OR NEW ORLEANS ALL THE FALCONS FANS WILL BE CRYING AND WISHING HE WAS STILL WEARING THE RED WHITE AND BLACK! MIKE IF BY SOME MIRACLE YOU EVER DECIDE TO GIVE US ANOTHER CHANCE I HOPE WE WILL BE SMART ENOUGH TO NOT LET YOU DOWN AGAIN!

midnite

July 20th, 2009
11:14 am

Surprising that Mike Vick has done absolutely nothing in two years to repair his badly damaged image. Look for the suspension to be lifted for 2010.

Reid Adair

July 20th, 2009
11:16 am

I don’t think Roger Goodell will reinstate Vick for the 2009 season; I think it will be 2010, and then you’re looking at a guy who’s been out of the league for three years.

I also don’t believe IF he comes back that it will be as a true quarterback. I see him being more of a “Wildcat” for special situations, trick plays, etc. But, hey, if that works for him, so be it. He did his time. What he does now is his business.

Mike Vick

July 20th, 2009
11:17 am

Why are you people still talking about me? I’m an ex Falcon, can’t you people run articles on Matty Ice? Is he that irrevelent?

I will be a Patriot and while you guys are waiting for your ritual, draft watching in your mom’s living rooms, I will be playing in the super bowl.

When you guys come to New England, we will destroy you girlie birds and this will be the first time you losers can actually blame me for your pathetic loss.

Enjoy your 2010 draft.

BIGBOY

July 20th, 2009
11:26 am

The guy will be back in the NFL this year for sure.As for Goodell at first I was all pumped thinking this guy was going to clean up the league,crack the whip on the players,get everybody in line.He started out strong and then the Patriotgate exposed him as a phony….sure he’s hard on players but that slap on the wrist he gave NE made me see the guy in a different light.It’s only about the image of the league when it applies to the players not ownership misconduct.As for Vick the guy was an allstar player,he won playoff games as a QB,are you serious?can he play QB?have you seen the stiffs out there starting for about 14 teams right now?Please…Vick will start for somebody this year.Do you really think for instance that Stafford or Sanchez is a better QB right now than Vick?seriously people can chunk that Vick may not be a QB crap.

frankie blacken

July 20th, 2009
11:28 am

The Michael Vick Now Loves All Animals Because He Wants to Go Back to the NFL and Make Millions of Dollars Souvenir Art Tile

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=350229267993&ssPageName=STRK:MESE:IT

Paul H

July 20th, 2009
11:28 am

Dear FALCONS SORRY, everyone knows Vick was the one who turned his back on Blank, the Falcons, their fans and the city of Atlanta. He also turned his back on you.

Glenn

July 20th, 2009
11:32 am

There was a place for Warren Moon when he was 44 years old on an NFL roster . If interested NFL franchises don’t get scared away by the PETA types that are sure to be heard if Michael Vick is back in the NFL , he will have his pick of teams . The quarterback position is a hard one to fill . He might not be a starter out of the gate but Vick will get a shot if franchises can stomach the PR storm . If he comes back to the NFL it will be more than just a 10 play a game wildcat & kick returner guy . There are a handful of teams he could start for tomorrow . That isn’t a validation of Vicks talents even after being in prison . It just shows how weak the qb position is in the NFL .

Tim from EP

July 20th, 2009
11:34 am

Childress thinks the Hawks are playing hardball. What! Why is this dude getting a free pass? If Childress had the wrong image, like Vick, everyone would be talking about how Childress is a whining overpaid athlete and needs to be thankful at whatever contract is thrown at him. Truth of the matter is Childress is a former 1st round pick who average 13 points as a starter in Greece. Flip Murrary average 12 points a game coming off the bench in the NBA. If Childress would have just taken the qualifying offer last season. Aint no telling what type of NBA money he would have gotten as important free-agent sixth man on a NBA playoff team. We all talk about how shrewd of a move it was for him to go over to Greece, but unless he was gonna dominate in Greece, Childress has effectively kill his NBA career, unless he is willing to take less money and worker harder than before.

scott

July 20th, 2009
11:34 am

My WAG is that he plays this year. Maybe even as quarterback, forget the Wildcat thing. America loves to forgive and move on, and MV has paid a significant price. Somebody gets injured and here comes Vick . . . so what if it takes him 2 years to memorize the playbook?

Da Raiders? Da Cowboys? who knows . . .but anything to put ‘em in the seats.

Mark Bradley

July 20th, 2009
11:38 am

Let me be clear about this: Do I think Vick is a real quarterback? Absolutely. But I think easing back into the NFL in a specific role might work better for both him and the franchise that takes a risk and hires him. Being the designated Wildcat would be better, say, than being the emergency quarterback. (Who’s inactive on Sundays unless emergency hits.)

Mac

July 20th, 2009
11:40 am

I know I’m an advocate of not responding to the Vick, bomb-throwing trolls, because that’s what they’re looking for. But, I must admit that I’d really like to see who Falcons Sorry is … just for giggles, because he is so over-the-top in his parody of a real Vick supporter.

Dr. Warren

July 20th, 2009
11:44 am

So Childress actually wanted to play for Atlanta this year? And the Hawks couldn’t get that done? Here’s probably our #3 best player in that Boston series in ‘08. Have him back this year, and with the depth he brings, we’re pushing closer to the #3 seed. That move would have made this summer a grand slam for Sund.

Mark Bradley

July 20th, 2009
11:45 am

Let me also say this: I think there are a handful of team owners who would love to sign Michael Vick but don’t want to be seen making the first move for fear of backlash. Kind of like the boys standing on one side of the room looking across at the girls at a sixth-grade dance.

Paul From Milton

July 20th, 2009
11:45 am

Can you imagine Randy Moss’ reaction if he found out that Mike Vick would be (attempting) to throw to him rather than Tom Brady? Priceless.

It’s funny that Vick has one 300 yard game and he thinks it proves he is a passing QB. Meanwhile, Brady, Manning and Brees throw for 300 as a routine.

Matt Ryan

July 20th, 2009
11:45 am

FALCONS SORRY… you are clueless. I’m here and Vick couldn’t hold my jock. Move on peeps, Vick is gone and the organization is in better hands now.

Mark Bradley

July 20th, 2009
11:49 am

I think, Dr. Warren, Childress was never all that sold on playing for the Hawks. I think he was hoping for a sign-and-trade. But that’s just me speculating.

jeffrey d

July 20th, 2009
11:49 am

ESPN.com had a poll last night that asked if you wanted to see Vick in the NFL this season. I don’t remember the exact numbers, but it was like 65/35 WANTING to see him return.

That was great to see, because you read and hear about PETA and all these other activists never wanting him to play again. I remember reading one quote that said reinstating Vick would tell children that if you’re an athlete it’s okay to do stupid things because they’ll let you play anyway.

This unforgiving attitude really bothers me. People (”activists”) will feel better if someone else’s life is ruined? Please.

Mark Bradley

July 20th, 2009
11:50 am

I look at it this way, Paul: Those good passing games Vick had were an indication of what he might have done in a non-Knapp offense. I remember the one in Miami (referenced above) and the one in Cincinnati the next season in particular. Those were precise, professional performances.

dooley

July 20th, 2009
11:52 am

The nfl is all about winning RIGHT NOW. Mike Vick on any team makes that team better, no matter if you like him or not. Before he was found to be adogfighter any team in the league save for 3 or 4 would have sold their soul to have him. Go Mike Vick!!!!!!!!!!!!!

MV7x

July 20th, 2009
11:53 am

I could go to Canada, eh?

Mark Bradley

July 20th, 2009
11:53 am

Jeffrey, I didn’t see the poll. (After watching the ABC/ESPN coverage of the British Open, I’d had all the Worldwide Leader I could handle for one day.) But I think the mood toward Vick has changed, and it will change even more when/if he speaks publicly again. There is, as we know, a basic human inclination to forgive. (Last I checked, there are religions based on that very principle.)

Homer

July 20th, 2009
11:54 am

FIRE BRADLEY!!!

Glenn

July 20th, 2009
11:55 am

The first two teams that should ask Michael Vick to ” couples skate ” are Pat Bowlen & Ralph Wilson. He could easily start for both those franchises . I never had a sixth grade dance . I did however couples skate to Ambrosia . Good Times .

Mark Bradley

July 20th, 2009
11:56 am

Dooley, I spent the four days before the NFC championship game in Philadelphia around the Eagles, and I well recall Jim Johnson, who’s about the best defensive coordinator in the business, talking about the unique problems Vick posed. I once called him “the scariest man in football” — this was after the Green Bay playoff victory — because defenses were caught between. If you rushed him, he’d run away. If you dropped back, he could beat you throwing. Or he might just run anyway. You never knew.

scott

July 20th, 2009
11:58 am

I am not gonna dispute the fact that Vick can pass with accuracy. He can.

But he can also, on a bad day, throw more interceptions than touchdowns.

He can also fumble with the worst of them, while holding the ball like a loaf of bread. Stale old bread. Drove me nuts while running for 110 yards and a touchdown and yet also coughing up the ball twice in our end of the field while scrambling out of the pocket. He could swing momentum our way quickly for sure. And then give it right back on the next series.

I think he is talented. Crazy talented. But he also has significant flaws as a qwuarterback, chiefly turnovers, and I would never want him back on the Falcons as QB. If he can’t swallow his pride and come back in some lessor role, well . . .that goes to show you why I wouldn’t want him on my team.

I’d take him as a DB! lol

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

July 20th, 2009
12:00 pm

Signing Vick, I imagine, will be similar to the time the first person ate a raw oyster. No one is clamoring to be first but eventually someone will.

jc_atl

July 20th, 2009
12:01 pm

Unless Vick can be trained to be a drop-back passer his days are numbered even if a team gives him a chance. His frantic play and resorting to the run too quickly mean he will someday get dismembered by a linebacker or defensive back. He’s probably too short, and too set in his ways to be the sort of QB that can ever be consistently successful in the NFL. Thank goodness he gave the Falcons a way out of his contract.

Mark Bradley

July 20th, 2009
12:04 pm

Scott, Vick only had 52 interceptions in 74 NFL games, which wasn’t bad. (Peyton Manning had 58 in his first 48 games.) Fumbles were more the issue, as you noted.

And I always thought Vick was, in many ways, a prisoner of that talent. He could run like nobody else in the league, so that became his default mode. (And led to some of the fumbles.) But he’s older now — he’s 29 — and maybe not quite so fast, and I’m thinking the right coach could instill the fundamental stuff the Falcons never did, the fundamental stuff that would lead to an upgrade in accuracy.

Sounds like I’m undercutting my argument for making him a Wildcat, doesn’t it? Ah, well.

scott

July 20th, 2009
12:06 pm

MV’s career stats from http://www.nfl.com/players/michaelvick/careerstats?id=VIC311467:

71 passing TDs
21 rushing TDs
92 TOTAL TDs

52 INTs
55 Fumbles
107 total turnovers

What else is there to say? O yeah . a career QB rating of 75.7

Please MV, come back to the Falcons, as we could use a good nickel package on defensive 3rd and long situations.

Todd

July 20th, 2009
12:07 pm

All of you nay-sayers please answer this question: What happens with what ever team Mike Vick lands with, if he goes in and shows no real sign og being away from the game? GENERALLY he same arm strength, speed, quickness AND play for play, the best QB on the team; does he make it as the No. 1 QB? Then answer just how stupid Arthur Blank continues to be :)

No one knows what Mike Vick will do until he steps on the field. Let’s just wait and see. I am not a Director of Player Personnel for an NFL Team, so I will keep my mouht shut and wish the best for Mike Vick. But heck, even PLayer Personel Directors have no clue what he can do. Shame if they do not take a look and see.

Mark Bradley

July 20th, 2009
12:07 pm

I hereby dub Bank Walker the King of Imagery.

scott

July 20th, 2009
12:07 pm

oops i was wrong about total turnovers . . . we did not lose possession of the football on all those fumbles. My bad.

JIm

July 20th, 2009
12:12 pm

The `real Matt Ryan` we all know has more class than to make a statement like that !

Dr. Warren

July 20th, 2009
12:12 pm

I live in China, and the guy who lives next door sometimes kicks his dog around until it yelps helplessly and I come over and force him to stop. The managers in my building laugh when I complain, saying, “it’s only a dog.” A female Chinese surgeon I know also laughs, saying, “You swat a mosquito, don’t you? What’s the difference?” When I explain to Chinese people that one of America’s most famous athletes has gone to jail for abusing and killing dogs, they usually look bemused. Don’t let the headlines about economic growth fool you. Ignorance and cruelty still tinge all aspects of Chinese life, even among those who are considered educated. For me, the fact that Vick–once my favorite athlete–just spent two years in jail is just another testament to the basic humanity of the American system and culture. Vick’s return and redemption should only come with ongoing proof that he now grasps that truth.

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

July 20th, 2009
12:13 pm

Bring on the wenches

steve

July 20th, 2009
12:15 pm

Hmmm…who will go through the potential public relations nightmare over a guy that hasn’t been on a field in two years? Someone may do it, stranger things have happened. I thought he was way overrated as a Falcon. I am glad to see that the falcons have moved on. Ryan is a better quarterback than Mike Vick will ever be. He’s also about a thousand times smarter. Vick just never had the smarts to be a great quarterback, he didn’t have the passing arm either.

reebok

July 20th, 2009
12:17 pm

Don’t forget how much MV’s skills had already eroded before he went to jail…he probably hasn’t improved a lot in the last couple of years. And does ANYBODY really believe that a person as undisciplined and arrogant as Vick can stay out of trouble while he’s on probation? Even if some team wants to bear the backlash of the negative press, and even if MV’s skills have held up enough to make him an asset, he’ll screw it up.

On a different topic, G-Tech hoops will not take a big leap forward this year because Paul Hewitt is still the coach.

dap01

July 20th, 2009
12:19 pm

Chills has an over priced self value, that is proved by the entire NBA not just the Hawks.

He was a fine player but he was able to go outside of the NBA to get more money than he could have in the NBA.

FALCONS SORRY

July 20th, 2009
12:19 pm

I READ LAST WEEK THAT BLANK HAS BEEN MAKING SECRET TRIPS TO SEE VICK AT HIS HOME IN VIRGINIA! THAT’S RIGHT! EVERYBODY KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS! THAT SORRY DEVIL BLANK IS REALIZING HE MESSED UP! BIG TIME! YOU BETTER KISS VICKS FEET BLANK! FOR ALL THE GOOD IT WILL DO YOU! BLANK NEEDS VICK MORE THAN VICK WILL EVER NEED THAT SORRY LOW DOWN BLANK! LET THE COURTSHIP AND FEET KISSING BEGIN! TIME TO TAKE BACK WHAT IS YOURS MIKE!

Darrin "The Vent King"

July 20th, 2009
12:20 pm

I think it was very classy the way Ryan responded to the questions about Vick on SportsCenter today. We are lucky to have that guy playing QB for us. I also wish Vick the best of luck in the future (except when he plays against the Falcons of course!).

GO FALCONS!

scott

July 20th, 2009
12:20 pm

and how many fumbles did Peyton make in those games, Mark? What was his touchdown to turnover ratio?

uh-huh.

And now you know why Peyton’s QB rating is more than DOUBLE what MV’s QB rating is.

Possession of the football is EVERYTHING. Don’t you agree?

Ruggles James

July 20th, 2009
12:20 pm

like a disbarred Lawyer, defrocked priest, convicted CEO and MD’s who have caused their license to be revoked, Mr. Vick squandered his chance and needs to move on. The NFL needs to ramp up its character image. Hell, he can’t even get a Real Estate License or own a gun as a felon, why should he be allowed to pull the NFL down any further. Isn’t part of the attraction of sports to teach responsiblity and consequences to our youth ?

Kim

July 20th, 2009
12:20 pm

He did his time, unlike Bush-Cheney war criminals.

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

July 20th, 2009
12:22 pm

Mark, on your comparison of Vick & Manning, Peyton had over 700 more attempts in his first 4 seasons than Vick so his chances of throwing picks, before he matured as a QB, went way up

scott

July 20th, 2009
12:23 pm

lmao opps again. Peyton’s overall rating is NOT that high. I gotta slow down when I read. But it is 20 points higher than Vick. That is significant.