Michael Vick and his attorney Larry "Woody" Woodward have not asked me for legal advice (yet), but here's what I'd tell them: STOP TALKING!
Woodward has made such a production of saying that Vick was long gone before a shooting took place early Friday morning after the quarterback's 30th birthday party that it's become the central element in the story. Perhaps Woodward would've been wise to recall that his client once famously fibbed to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Falcons owner Arthur Blank about his involvement in a dogfighting ring.
As you may have heard, Virginia Beach police are no longer saying that Vick's of "no interest" to them. He talked to investigators Monday about the shooting on his own accord. But now police have obtained a surveillance video from the bar/restaurant Guadalajara that appears to contradict Woodward's assertion that his client departed 10-20 minutes before the shooting.
"Right now, we don't really have a title for [Vick]," police spokesman Adam Bernstein told the Philadelphia Daily News on Wednesday.
As many of you know, police often hand out catchy titles such as "person of interest" or "witness." The fact that Vick's lost the title of "no interest to the police" is not a positive development for the Eagles quarterback. And Woodward's not backing off his client's original version of the timeline.
"I stand by what I said, that Michael was long gone before the shooting, does not know who did the shooting and had nothing to do with the shooting," Woodward told the Daily (Va.) Press. "Anyone who says any different better be very careful."
The fact that media outlets have reported that the shooting victim was one of Vick's dogfighting co-defendants, Quanis Phillips, only complicates matters. As part of his federal probation (and the NFL's reinstatement), Vick is not allowed to associate with anyone convicted of a felony unless granted permission to do so by his probation officer. And something tells me his Norfolk, Va.-based probation officer didn't sign off on Phillips' presence at "Michael Vick's ALL WHITE 30th Birthday Bash."
Up until early Friday morning, the Vick redemption tale was going pretty strong. But this is obviously the first major snag. I suspect he's earned a sitdown with Goodell in New York. The commissioner said that Vick's margin for error would be "extremely limited" in his reinstatement letter last July.
We may soon find out how the league interprets that clause. If I'm Andy Reid, I'd make sure Jeff Garcia's still on speed dial.