Thank You, Michael Vick

Not for inhumane treatment of animals, or for abusing man’s best friend.

Really, I’m not even sure if I owe any thanks at all. I was offering my gratitude for keeping the NFL in the news through a rather dry period, and allowing the media to cover something other than Brett Favre after the NFL Draft.

Oh, and Brett Favre: go away already!

Okay, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, we can return to conversation about Michael Vick. I’ve had dogs as pets my entire life; my parents owned three dogs when I was born, and today I have a chocolate Labrador who is considered a part of the family. I wouldn’t consider myself an activist by any means, but I definitely don’t condone the activities that Michael Vick was participating in. And I wouldn’t consider myself a minority; it is safe to assume that most people in the United States have a soft heart for dogs and consider Vick’s actions reprehensible.

We’re a rather forgiving society in America. Unlawful acts or bad decision-making does not go unpunished or ignored, but if the accused serve their time and appear to sincerely regret past mistakes, then forgiveness is usually granted. Michael Vick has served his sentence and has been to hell and back financially – achieving a ten-year, $140 million contract in Atlanta, declaring bankruptcy, and settling for a $10-per-hour construction job in Virginia is quite the transformation.

Now Michael Vick appears to be doing all of the right things to set up a return to the National Football League. Once considered the most explosive athlete at the quarterback position, Vick is undeniably talented enough to compete in the league. Yet he might have a problem finding an opportunity; most teams are prescribing to the “give him a chance, but not here” policy.

Michael Vick has paid his debt to society for crimes committed, as determined by a court of law. He is reaching out to the Humane Society, and wants to show America that he is committed to helping combat the dog fighting problem. Vick appears to be sincere, but it isn’t like he has another option. He has admitted that he grew up with dog fighting as a boy, and never sufficiently questioned it as he grew into manhood. If Vick shows a genuine commitment to make amends, then why shouldn’t he get a second chance?

Leonard Little has been a dominant defensive player for the St. Louis Rams since 2001, when he registered 14.5 sacks through the regular season. He is now 34 years old, has 81 total career sacks, and is entering the twilight of a rather successful career. What a lot of people forget (or don’t know) happened in 1998, when Little got behind the wheel of his car drunk. His actions resulted in the death of Susan Gutweiler, who was taken from her husband and 15-year old son because of the incident.

If Leonard Little can resume his career in the NFL after that incident, then there is no reason why Michael Vick shouldn’t have the same opportunity. Little wasn’t anywhere near the celebrity that Vick was when he committed the crime, but that shouldn’t make any different. And it should be mentioned that Little went on to get arrested again in 2004 for speeding and drunk driving, showing that he had no regret or remorse for the 1998 incident.

Michael Vick still has a lot to prove to the American public, but eventually he should receive a second chance. His actions will likely justify vocal protest when he signs on with a team in the NFL, but that is a consequence he’ll have to endure.

And I’ve heard a lot of rumors that Seattle may be a good fit for Vick when he does return. Not a chance. I’ve covered this in a recent blog entry (Michael Vick?), but let me reiterate: there is no way Michael Vick returns to the NFL as a Seahawk. It doesn’t make sense from the perspective of the organization, which prides itself on retaining players of character and good quality. It doesn’t make sense from the perspective of the coaching staff, who (Jim Mora and Greg Knapp) inherited Michael Vick in Atlanta and were forced to try and make things work with him in a West Coast-style of offense – Vick never flourished in the system, and doesn’t have the skill set necessary to be a successful West Coast quarterback. It doesn’t even make sense from a team perspective, with Matt Hasselbeck still on board and capable of playing at a high level.

The Seattle Seahawks don’t get a lot of national recognition tucked away in the Pacific Northwest, and Michael Vick is not necessarily the coverage you want to draw.

So what is everyone’s opinion of Michael Vick, his second chance in the NFL, and the Seattle Seahawks as a potential suitor?

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Tags: Atlanta Falcons Bankruptcy Brett Favre Construction Job Dog Dog Fighting Drunk Driving Greg Knapp Humane Society Jim Mora Leonard Little Manslaughter Matt Hasselbeck Media Michael Vick Pacific Northwest Quarterback Seattle Seahawks Second Chance St. Louis Rams Susan Gutweiler Tim Ruskell Virginia West Coast Offense

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