Brace yourself, folks. We're about to see the "Ray Lewis Road to Redemption" in action!
Michael Vick will say all the right the things. He'll do charity work. He'll apologize. He'll find God. Time will pass. He'll meet with general managers. He'll do touching, give-him-another-chance interviews on ESPN. He'll apologize some more. More time will pass.
The soft backdrop jazz on your television followed by former athletes-turned-broadcasters begging for mercy will bombard you with the annoying frequency of Billy Mays' piercing voice.
And through the mass saturation of Vick coverage, you can only hope people remember the vicious crime that he committed. Training pets to kill. Profiting from it. And then brutally killing them. Yes, Vick served his time in prison. But no way should the Bills entertain the faint thought of acquiring Vick. Signing an egomaniac that tosses popcorn into his face is one thing. Inking a felon is another. Don't go there. If flirting with Toronto hasn't alienated local diehards, than welcoming a dog-fighting chump would trigger riots.
Or at least it should. After Russ Brandon's promise that the organization values character, Vick should never even cross his mind. Vick playing football again is Eliot Spitzer getting another crack at governor or Eminem getting picked as a commencement speaker. Sick. Twisted. It should not even be up for debate — especially in a city that values its athletes as people like Buffalo.
No quarterback in the history of the game has boasted Vick's athleticism. He's virtually a pixilated figure on the field being controlled by a kid on a video game. His ability to take off on the run is unmatched. This is a win-now league where coaches— like Jon Gruden —are fired after winning three division titles and a Super Bowl. Some decaying franchise out there that is unsettled at quarterback may envision Vick as a cheap, nothing-to-lose quick fix. After all, the skyrocketing rookie market forced the Detroit Lions to unload a six-year, $42 million contract to a rookie.
Matthew Stafford may be Joey Harrington's long, lost clone for all we know. Vick has a proven resume: Pro Bowls, an NFC Championship appearance, countless sleepless nights for opposing coordinators. Naturally, some lawless GM out there will peer into their empty stadium and put morals on the backburner.
But Buffalo should not — for so many reasons. The Bills have expressed full confidence in Trent Edwards and made Ryan Fitzpatrick one of the highest-paid backups ever. Aside from the obvious sting such a signing would add to the growing list of players getting arrested, adding Vick makes no sense from a football perspective. He hardly fits the pocket-passer mold the Bills' plethora of receivers need.
Vick failed to throw for 3,000 yards — hardly a milestone — in each of his six years with the Falcons. For all of his herculean arm strength, he has the accuracy of Shaq at the foul line. Every pass is a laser, every pass is forced. No touch, no precision. Through his entire career, Vick never matured as a passer. Atlanta kept drafting receivers like Roddy White and Michael Jenkins, but Vick never got over hump. Rookie Matt Ryan did so in one-sixth of the time, throwing for 3,440 yards and 16 touchdowns along an improbable return to the playoffs.
Something tells me one year in prison didn't exactly do wonders for Vick's ability as passer. At best, he's a faster Kordell Stewart.
And please, save the ‘slash' plea. Everyone these days thinks freakish athletes will erupt into gimmicky ‘slash' roles, where they can bob ‘n weave through defenses off pitches, hitches and other circus plays. Here in Buffalo, all that would do is pour water into an already well-oiled offensive machine. Terrell Owens, Lee Evans and Josh Reed could potentially form the AFC's most dangerous trio of wideouts. One benefits from the other. Tossing Vick into the equation is counterproductive.
There's a reason so many "athletes" flop as receivers in the NFL. Eric Crouch couldn't get through one training camp. Chicago's Devin Hester, arguably the most electric return man in the history in the NFL, made as many big plays as the new David Ortiz in a No. 1 receiver role last year.
Doodling Vick into X ‘n Os on paper sure can raise a coach's adrenaline. But saying that Vick will electrify an offense in a ‘Wildcat' type of offense is wishful thinking. He'd be a deterrent to any rhythm a team is looking to establish — particularly in Buffalo.
Above all, is Vick's shameful crime. He was a living horror-movie antagonist. A monster. Vick slaughtered dogs for pleasure. Short memories are natural. In today's society, people embrace the openly guilty. Whereas Barry Bonds is despised, Jason Giambi is adored. Go figure. But c'mon people. There aren't enough "Sorrys" in the world to reprimand what Vick did.
No way should he ever have the privilege to step inside Ralph Wilson Stadium.
For Part I of this debate click here.