Michael Vick creates some trouble for Roger Goodell

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick takes the field to play the Green Bay Packers in their NFC Wild Card NFL playoff football game in Philadelphia, January 9, 2011. REUTERS/Tim Shaffer (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

If what Michael Vick recently told GQ is true, then NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has some explaining to do.

In an interview published by GQ’s website, Vick told Will Leitch that he was persuaded by Goodell to play for the Eagles instead of the Bills or Bengals.

“I think I can say this now, because it’s not going to hurt anybody’s feelings, and it’s the truth,” Vick tells me a few weeks after the commencement ceremony. “I didn’t want to come to Philadelphia. Being the third-team quarterback is nothing to smile about. Cincinnati and Buffalo were better options.” Those two teams wanted him and would’ve allowed him to start, but after meeting with commissioner Roger Goodell and other reps from the NFL, Vick was convinced—and granted league approval—to sign with Philly. “And I commend and thank them, because they put me in the right situation.”

I think it’s rather humorous that Vick commended and thanked the people he just threw into the controversial spotlight. Because under no circumstances should Goodell, or anyone else in the NFL front office for that matter, be steering any player to or away from any team.

Did it work out for Vick? Yes. Did it work out for the Eagles? Yes. Did it work out for the NFL? Yes. But what about the Bills and Bengals? Why did Goodell feel the need to steer Vick away from those two organizations?

The obvious answer is because Vick was just released from prison and needed a stable environment. Andy Reid and the Eagles provided the structure that Vick desperately needed. If you want to argue against the notion that Cincinnati would have been an unstable situation, Google “Carson Palmer retirement” and you’ll get all the proof you need that Vick was better off landing in Philadelphia. Had someone polled fans across the nation asking which team (CIN, PHI or BUF) would provide the best environment for Vick, it would stand to reason that the majority of fans would choose Philadelphia.

But Goodell isn’t a fan. He’s the commissioner, which means he should be hands off when it comes to players choosing what teams they want to sign with. I realize he may have only been trying to help Vick, but imagine if he had a hand in telling Nnamdi Asomugha or Julius Peppers where to sign. The whole situation sounds shady.

Either way, it’s water under the bridge now. Goodell and the league will catch some heat for this, but nothing is going to change. Vick is still in Philadelphia, where he makes the Eagles legit Super Bowl contenders. Meanwhile, Bills and Bengals fans can share in more misery, although they can save their whining about Vick. At the time, I’m sure there were plenty of people in Buffalo and Cincinnati who pleaded with their teams not to sign “that dog killer.”

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Police identify shooter in Vick investigation

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 9: Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks on from the sideline in the second quarter against the Dallas Cowboys during the 2010 NFC wild-card playoff game at Cowboys Stadium on January 9, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer & Daily News, the Virginia Beach Police have identified who shot Quanis Phillips the night of Michael Vick’s 30th birthday party and also announced that the Eagles’ quarterback is not a suspect.

The police have identified the shooter, but cannot charge the suspect because the victim and various witnesses have been uncooperative. The statement went on to say that there are no other suspects, including Vick.

Here’s the Virginia Beach police statement in its entirety, released by spokesman Adam Bernstein:

“Investigators were able to determine the identity of the shooter. Unfortunately because of the lack of cooperation from the victim, coupled with the reluctance of witnesses, the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office, upon reviewing all of the evidence, has determined that no charges will be filed in this case at this time. Because the suspect will not be charged, his identity cannot be released by police. There are no other suspects in this case, including Michael Vick.”

It appears that Vick is in the clear, although don’t forget that at one point during his dog fighting investigation it seemed as if he was going to dodge punishment, too. I doubt the Eagles will release him at this point, but you never know.

My question is, will the league take action against him for associating with Phillips, who was one of the co-defendants from his dog fighting case? If they do, it’s going to be pretty hard for Roger Goodell to determine that Phillips wasn’t just an unwanted guest crashing the party. And in that case, Vick did nothing wrong.

Vick still thinks he can be dangerous, wants to start

Michael Vick told the Philadelphia Inquirer that he still has visions of being a starter in the NFL and thinks teams we see that they missed on a golden opportunity to trade for the former No. 1 overall pick in the offseason.

“Actually, I understood because I’d been out of football,” Vick said Monday after a workout at the NovaCare Complex. “I didn’t play behind a center for three years. I know how good I am. The [Eagles] coaches know how good I am. I know I could have landed some place, but it wasn’t meant to be.”

“Being a competitor, you always want to start,” Vick said. “I know in my future that’s there for me. I’ll be a starter in this league again. Right now, I’m just having fun honing my skills.”

“My skills are back,” Vick said. “I’m ready. I’m faster than I’ve ever been before. I’m quicker, light on my feet. So I guess somebody missed out this time around. But I’ll make it work here, and they’ll see.”

“When I get back to [practicing more], I’m going to be dangerous,” Vick said. “That’s all I can say. I’ll be dangerous.”

Vick had a fair amount of success in Atlanta due to his athletic abilities alone, but there were more than a handful of games in which he lost because he couldn’t read a defense. He wasn’t prepared for situations late in the fourth quarter when he needed to make a play against a good team that had the ability to bottle him up. Monte Kiffin used to make him look like a fool twice a year when the Falcons played the Buccaneers because Vick didn’t know how to adjust mentally.

The problem with Vick has never been his athletic ability. It’s always been with him taking that next step as a quarterback and as a student of the game. If he has changed, then maybe there’s still time for him yet. But if he’s still the same QB that relied solely on his athletic talent, then he’ll be nothing more than a gimmick the rest of his career.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Is Vick destined to be a backup in the NFL?

When Alex Marvez of FOXSports.com asked a NFL scout that watched all 64 snaps that Michael Vick took last season, this is what he said:

“He can’t throw,” the scout said. “A guy could be open 20 yards downfield and he’ll throw it 25. He never could throw, but he was fast before. It’s not like he’s slow now but he doesn’t stick out like, ‘Wow, this guy is faster than everybody.’”

I then sent a text message to a top NFL personnel director asking whether the lack of trade buzz surrounding Vick stems from the fact he is no longer a special athletic talent. The response: “Right on.”

What the scout said isn’t necessarily a shocking revelation. Like the scout, many people thought that Vick couldn’t throw before he went to prison, so it stands to reason that he still can’t after he spent two years in lock up. Factor in his drop in speed and athletic ability given his age and it’s no wonder that teams aren’t jumping at the chance to trade for Vick.

Marvez goes on:

But if teams were convinced he could become the old Michael Vick, wouldn’t some of his former bosses have tried to acquire him by now? St. Louis general manager Billy Devaney worked in Atlanta’s front office when Vick rushed for 1,000 yards in 2006. Cleveland general manager Tom Heckert Jr. held that same position last year in Philadelphia, allowing him a day-to-day look at Vick in practice.

The Rams and Browns entered the offseason desperate for quarterbacking help but both went in a different direction. St. Louis signed A.J. Feeley, who has experience in offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur’s offense from the time both were with the Eagles. The Browns added free agent Jake Delhomme and traded with Seattle for Seneca Wallace, who has a similar skill-set to Vick.

It is a little surprising that a team like the Rams hasn’t made a move yet. The Eagles can’t be asking for too much in return for a quarterback that won’t be on their roster in 2011, so one would think that St. Louis would part with a sixth rounder in order to acquire Vick. But maybe teams don’t even think he’s worth that much.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Eagles to hang onto Vick until preseason?

According to NFL.com’s Jason La Canfora, the Eagles might not trade quarterback Michael Vick until the preseason. The thought is to up Vick’s trade value by displaying him in preseason games and then waiting for other teams to panic due to injuries and uncertainty at the quarterback position.

If Philly does decide to wait, it’ll cost them. Vick is due a $1.5 million roster bonus on March 5 and if the Eagles don’t trade him before then, they’ll also guarantee $1 million of the quarterback’s 2010 salary. But if they can acquire a higher draft pick in return, it’s a price the Eagles are probably willing to pay.

The Rams remain the front-runners for Vick because of GM Billy Devaney’s relationship with the quarterback in Atlanta. Marc Bulger is no longer a viable starting option at quarterback and neither are Keith Null or Kyle Boller, so St. Louis would love to upgrade.

The Bills are another team desperate to start fresh at the quarterback position and with Chan Gailey’s history with mobile quarterbacks, Vick would make sense in Buffalo. The Raiders might make a play for Vick as well and a sleeper team that could emerge come preseason is the Cardinals, who aren’t completely sold on Matt Leinart yet.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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