Friday, July 20, 2007
Reeves says he would 'do anything I could to help Mike'
ATLANTA -- Former Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Reeves told
Michael Vick several weeks ago he would help the troubled
quarterback in any possible way.
That offer still stands, even though Vick is now under federal
indictment for allegedly hosting dogfights and brutally killing pit bulls.
"Sure, I'd do anything I could to help Mike," Reeves said
Friday. "I think he's basically a good person. Unfortunately it
just seems like he's made some bad choices over the years with the
company he keeps."
Vick's problems aren't just about football. Public outrage
ensued after he and three others were charged with competitive
dogfighting, procuring and training pit bulls for fighting, and
conducting the enterprise across state lines.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell spoke Friday with members of the
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals while
approximately 50 activists with People for the Ethical Treatment of
Animals protested outside his office in New York.
Nike announced this week that it would suspend release of Vick's
latest signature shoe, prompting the National Humane Society to
demand that the shoe and apparel company pull all Vick-endorsed
products from stores.
The indictment and ensuing uproar has "shocked and saddened"
Reeves, who initially called Vick earlier this summer to invite him
to play in a charity golf tournament. But the former coach also
wanted Vick, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, to know that many
people could help him clear up his image.
"Like most everybody else, I'd heard a lot of the things that
could've happened in his life over the last year or so," Reeves
said. "I was shocked and saddened to hear about the dogfighting.
Unfortunately, when you look at it, it seems like he's had the same
circle of friends he had as a kid."
Vick hardly helped himself or the Falcons when he gestured
obscenely to fans at the Georgia Dome following a lopsided loss to
New Orleans last year. He promised the next day that he would never
embarrass Atlanta fans again.
"I don't know where it came from," Vick said last Nov. 27,
"but the people who know me know that's not me and that's not my
Vick was a 20-year-old Virginia Tech sophomore six years ago
when Reeves drafted him No. 1 overall in the NFL.
During his three seasons with Vick, Reeves considered him as a
person who earned respect in the locker room but usually kept to
himself once he left the team's complex.
"Maybe that's because he kept hanging out with a few guys he
grew up with instead of making more friends on the team," Reeves
said. "During the first two years, Mike prepared as hard as
anybody. He never left anything on the field, and he had the kind
of speed most people never saw at his position."
After Vick made two starts in eight games as a rookie behind
Chris Chandler, the Falcons named him their starter in 2002. He led
them to the playoffs and a stunning wildcard win at Green Bay.
Team owner Arthur Blank fired Reeves after Vick broke his ankle
the following preseason and missed 12 starts. Atlanta went 3-1 when
Vick returned, but his slow recovery all but ruined a season that
Neither Vick nor his legal representatives has spoken publicly
since the indictment was released.
The quarterback and his four associates will enter pleas
Thursday at the U.S. District Court in Richmond, Va. The Falcons
begin training camp the same day, but football seems the least of
If convicted of both felony charges, the four face up to six
years in prison, fines of up to $350,000 and restitution.
"When look at the big picture, you're talking about a
quarterback who's had all the ability in the world, a guy who
could've accomplished great things," Reeves said. "Maybe he still
can, but it seems like he's made it awfully tough on himself."