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|Former Falcons quarterback Michael Vick may get conditionally reinstated, but even if he does, will any team want him?|
Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
Anybody want Michael Vick?
That's not a question. It's a plea. Seriously, I'd be thrilled to trade you the former Atlanta quarterback for anything. Heck, for nothing. Take him and the mountain of baggage he carries, please.
Still no takers?
Don't feel isolated. It appears nobody is lining up to take Vick. Selfishly, I'm not real happy about that because I've had more than my share of the ugly Vick saga, which has dragged on seemingly forever.
As the NFC South blogger, my territory includes Vick until he signs with a team in another division. My readers write me every day to ask me to stop writing about Vick because they're so tired of hearing about him. That's probably not going to change any time soon.
Yes, Vick is out of prison and done with home confinement. Yes, ESPN's Sal Paolantonio is reporting Commissioner Roger Goodell has decided to grant Vick a conditional reinstatement for training camp, although there remains a chance the quarterback could face a four-game suspension.
Even with the conditional reinstatement, there's no guarantee an NFL team will step forward to take an immensely talented athlete, who may or may not be suited to play quarterback or some other position and is certain to bring a swarm of media and protesters if he shows up anywhere near a stadium. And the cloud of a possible four-game suspension doesn't make Vick any more appealing.
Still, I thought there was a chance some owner (Jerry Jones? Al Davis?) might take a shot. Now, I'm thinking there's a very real chance 32 owners will pass on Vick.
That comes after one of my editors suggested I survey the landscape to see where Vick might end up next. I turned to my colleagues who cover the seven other divisions because they each have their finger on the pulse of their respective divisions.
I sent out an e-mail with low expectations on any strong interest in Vick. I asked the other bloggers to categorize each team's possible interest in three categories:
I even turned to a higher power for the NFC East. With Matt Mosley unavailable, John Clayton filled in. When I sorted through the responses, I was slightly surprised because the interest was even weaker than my expectations. I'll break it down by the categories.
Might have an interest: None -- as in not a single NFL team.
It's a long shot, but don't rule it out: Bears, Lions, Bengals, Broncos, Raiders, Jaguars, Bills, Patriots and Cowboys.
That's nine teams and in just about every case, the blogger emphasized that it was a really long shot at best. Yeah, don't rule out Jones or Davis because anything is possible with them. The biggest selling point I can give to the Cowboys is Vick has won more postseason games than Tony Romo. And, hey, since Ralph Wilson signed Terrell Owens in Buffalo, he already has the perfect lightning rod to take the heat off Vick.
I have a tough time seeing Vick in Chicago or New England, major metropolitan areas where the fan bases aren't likely to welcome Vick with open arms. Of course, it is a little tempting to imagine what Bill Belichick could do with Vick's talent.
Vick might be more talented than Denver's current quarterbacks, but I really can't see owner Pat Bowlen signing off on Vick to be the next John Elway after Jay Cutler and Brian Griese couldn't come close to living up to the mile-high expectations, even though fans were rooting for them. They wouldn't be so inclined to root for Vick.
The Lions? Don't they and the city of Detroit have enough problems? They're paying Matthew Stafford a ton of money. Let the kid take his lumps. Maybe he's the next Joey Harrington or maybe he's the next Matt Ryan.
It's awfully tough to see Jacksonville entering the mix after they've made such a point to stress that David Garrard is their quarterback. But the flip side is that Vick could be a drawing card for a franchise that has a tough time filling its stadium.
Cincinnati? I guess anything's possible for a franchise that's continually looking for the right direction. But the one thing the Bengals have going for them is Carson Palmer. He's a real quarterback and, if the Bengals actually did have interest in Vick, it would be to fill a role in the Wildcat scheme. As one NFL coach told me earlier this summer, "If you've got a real quarterback, you shouldn't even think about running the Wildcat.''
On to our final category.
Not even a chance: Packers, Vikings, Steelers, Ravens, Browns, Chiefs, Chargers, Titans, Colts, Texans, Dolphins, Jets, Seahawks, Rams, 49ers, Cardinals, Redskins, Eagles, Giants, Panthers, Saints, Buccaneers and Falcons.
That's 23 teams and some, such as the Seahawks, Rams, 49ers, Giants and Jets, already have come out and publicly said they're not interested in Vick. So has Arthur Blank, the Falcons' owner, who had to suffer through the whole debacle.
Then, there are the other teams that don't even have to say anything -- for various reasons. Take Carolina owner Jerry Richardson. There's no way Vick will end up with the Panthers, even though some of their fans would like to run Jake Delhomme out of town. Richardson was bothered to his very core by the Rae Carruth fiasco of a decade ago. He refuses to take players with character concerns and often ushers players out the door the first time they get in trouble.
That's true of some other owners as well. But it's not the only reason so many are slamming the door on Vick. There's another group of teams out there that has no need at quarterback and isn't interested in him as part of a Wildcat package because they either don't run it or they've got somebody else to fill the role.
Can you really see the Steelers, Saints or Colts bringing in Vick to take the ball out of the hands of Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees or Peyton Manning? Or the Giants cutting into Eli Manning's reps? Or the Bucs pulling the plug on Josh Freeman before he even gets a shot to play?
Not a chance.
The above sentence might best sum up Vick's NFL prospects right now. He truly might not have any NFL options.
I think Vick will end up playing in the new United Football League this season. By territorial rights, he'll go to the Orlando franchise.
Orlando's in my backyard. I guess that's my territory. As much as I'd love to give the Vick story away, it's not looking like anybody in the NFL wants to take it.
Sal Paolantonio gives an update on Michael Vick's situation.