Dan Reeves: Falcons turned their backs on Michael Vick

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick (7) looks to throw in his return to play the Atlanta Falcons as the starter for the Eagles, in the first half of their NFL football game in Atlanta, Georgia, September 18, 2011. REUTERS/Tami Chappell (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Falcon fans will be be forever grateful for what Dan Reeves did for their organization, which included leading them to their first and only Super Bowl appearance, and pulling the trigger on a trade that brought Michael Vick to Atlanta in 2001.

That said, Reeves missed the boat so badly with his recent comments about how the Falcons “turned their back” on Vick that he didn’t even hit water. He never made it to the dock, in fact. He tripped getting out of his car on the way to the dock with the boat 600 yards away, smacked his head on the ground and when he woke up dazed and confused, he foolishly said this:

“When Mike really needed them, they turned their back on him in my opinion. They could have been a big supporter and they let him go. I wasn’t there so I don’t know the organization’s standpoint, but I thought they could have been more supportive and instead they severed ties with him.”

Things didn’t end well for Reeves in Atlanta, so I don’t blame him for being a little salty towards the organization. But he still has a functioning brain, does he not? The Falcons turned their backs on Vick? They could have been more supportive? You’re kidding me, right? The Falcons should have showed Vick more support? Wow, that’s a new one.

First of all, there’s no way the Falcons could have kept Vick following his release from prison. It would have been a PR nightmare and the entire organization would have be viewed as weak for sticking by a quarterback who plunged them into the depths of NFL hell for at least one season. You don’t run a business that way and in the end, the NFL is a business first.

But the bigger point to be made here is that Vick wronged the Falcons, not the other way around. The Falcons didn’t decide to hold underground dog fighting rings in their backyard. That was Vick. The Falcons didn’t break the law, drown innocent animals, or participate in illegal gambling. That was Vick. When questioned about their involvement in the felonious activities, they didn’t lie to his face. Again, that was Vick.

And oh-by-the-way, the Falcons were the ones who rewarded Vick with millions of dollars for his on-filed play despite the fact that he never developed into a leader for them. He admitted as much last year when he told everyone with a microphone that he didn’t work nearly has hard for the Falcons as he does now in Philadelphia. There were also incidents that the Falcons covered up in fear that it would hurt Vick’s reputation, including an issue involving him and his posse stealing a watch at an airport early in his career.

Now, it was the Falcons’ own fault for coddling Vick for six years before he was hauled off to prison. Owner Arthur Blank has said that he mistakenly turned the Falcons into a one-man show instead of building a team. But no support? Someone should remind Reeves that Vick got to keep all of the money that the Falcons paid him, and that guys like Blank wrote to him when he was in prison. When Vick says things like, “I love Arthur Blank unconditionally,” that doesn’t sound like someone who has been unsupported. Blank loved Vick and would have done anything to watch “MV7” lead the Falcons to the Super Bowl.

In some small way, it’s nice that Reeves is sticking by the guy whom he drafted. And before anyone suggests it, this isn’t about Vick and whether or not he’s paid his debt to society. This specifically is about Reeves’ comments, which are way off base. The Falcons did everything they could to make Vick a superstar in Atlanta. They paid him like a star, treated him like a star, and supported him like a star. And for six years, they sold a lot of tickets and jerseys while Vick ran around the Georgia Dome carpet every week.

But in the end, Vick left the franchise in ruins because he cared more about his hobby than he did about his craft. He also cost them millions of dollars, left them with no quarterback or direction, and stuck them with Joey Harrington for a season (which was his biggest crime if you ask me). Did they land back on their feet? Yes, but it took a lot of savvy moves by GM Thomas Dimitroff to turn the Falcons around so quickly. And let’s keep in mind that when Vick was constantly receiving bad press for his many off-field adventures, he was still a member of the Falcons. Thus, he was making the Falcons look bad with his actions – not the Eagles or anyone else. Now that he’s in Philadelphia, he’s viewed as the poster child for redemption and is the star of “The Dream Team.” Who does that benefit? Certainly not the Falcons.

The Falcons turned their backs on Vick? I think you’ve got it backwards, Dan.

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