Update! As you’ve doubtless heard, Michael Vick now has a team. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reports Vick has signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s a two-year contract, Mortensen says, and it’s about as comfortable a setting as Vick could find: He’s backing up Donovan McNabb, who hosted Vick on a recruiting visit to Syracuse way back when, and who opposed Vick when the Falcons met the Eagles in the NFC title game.
And oh, yes: The Eagles play the Falcons at the Georgia Dome on Dec. 6.
The signing capped a week of frenzied Vick-related activity. He was in Decatur on Saturday, and this week he set off a Twitter-fed furor just by walking through Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.
From Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune: “Michael Vick arriving in Chicago had as much to do with him playing for the Bears as LeBron James being in town had to do with James signing with the Bulls in 2010. The Bears were compelled to issue a statement ruling out a Vick possibility once a TMZ video of Vick at O’Hare hit the Internet today and set off a tweeting frenzy.”
According to Mitchell, Vick was in the area to speak at the Liberation Christian Center in Englewood on Wednesday. Also along was Vick’s new companion, Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society. From Mitchell’s story comes this Pacelle quote: “”We spoke with dozens of young people, and Michael shared his story, expressed remorse for his actions, urged the community to stand up to dog fighting, and asked them to help with the campaign.”
The day before, Vick spoke at a basketball camp at Hampton Institute, which is in Vick’s hometown. From the Associated Press report: “The free agent NFL quarterback … told a crowd of about 250 to ‘use me as an example for your dreams.’ Vick also told them that after accomplishing his goals he ‘allowed someone who didn’t have my best interests at heart to take all that away from me,’ according to a release from the school.”
Vick will appear on “60 Minutes” this Sunday. James Brown, who conducted the interview Monday, told the NFL Network’s Total Access on Wednesday that there was “tacit approval” of dogfighting in Vick’s neighborhood while he was growing. And, according to USA Today’s The Huddle, Brown said: “Michael Vick was very resolute. He was very committed and passionate about his efforts to continue educating youngsters, particularly youngsters and young folks in urban areas.”
Esteemed former colleague Len Pasquarelli, now of ESPN.com, believes an NFL team could sign Vick even before Vick appears on “60 Minutes.” (The entire clip of Lenny’s report is below.) And ESPN also reported Wednesday that Carolina coach John Fox did not eliminate his team from the apparently short list of clubs who would consider signing Vick. Said Fox: “You always keep all options open.”
From Sporting News Today comes a list of six teams believed to be interested in Vick’s services. Pittsburgh and New England, as Pasquarelli surmised, are considered the favorites, with Philadelphia, Baltimore, Green Bay and Carolina also named.
And from David Squires, who’s a columnist with the Newport News Daily Press, comes the story I’ve long awaited: One with actual Vick quotes. Squires spent time with Vick last month and came away with these impressions: That Vick is “confident, bordering on arrogant,” but that he’s also “extremely repentant” and “a changed man.”
All these quotations are from Squires’ compelling account:
• Vick on dogfighting: “In the back of your mind, you know it’s wrong, but with the money and the ego, sometimes you fool yourself. Your ego gets the best of you.”
• Vick on prison: “It made me become a better person. Because of what I went through, it’ll make me smarter about everything else now. Not just football.”
• Vick on his physical condition: “The cannon [his arm] will always be there. I’ve just got to keep these [his legs] in shape.”
• Vick on his future: “[His first year back in the NFL] will be about getting all the way in shape … The next year will be about being the face of the NFL for the next 10 years.”