As we all watch and wait for indications as to whether quarterback Mike Vick has changed in the wake of his soon-to-be-concluding federal prison sentence, the guy who traded up in the 2001 draft to get Vick claims that he has been frozen out in efforts to help Vick.
“I’ve even written, and I’ve tried to make appointments to see him in prison, but they never got back to me,” former Falcons coach Dan Reeves told Terrence Moore of FanHouse, who previously covered Vick, Reeves, and the Falcons at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“I don’t know if he doesn’t want to talk to me because he’s embarrassed or what,” Reeves said. “I don’t know, but I want him to know that I’m on his side. I can’t do anything more than I’m trying to do.
“If he’s looking for somebody to stand up for him and to be a father figure and not try to make a buck like most of the people around him are doing — you know, I just want to help him. I wish he would call me.”
We’re going to speculate for a second (usually, we don’t bother to make it so clear). Maybe, just maybe, Vick blames Reeves for not being more of a father figure in the early stages of his career. Maybe, just maybe, Vick’s nightmare of the past two years could have been avoided, if Reeves — who essentially was running the show in Atlanta when Vick and his cohorts launched the “Bad Newz Kennels” in rural Virginia — had handled Vick differently.
We’re not saying that Vick isn’t responsible for his own actions. Clearly, he is. But no one broke the cycle of coddling and enabling and looking-the-other-way that allowed Vick to continue to do whatever the hell he wanted to do.
Regardless of whether Reeves should have known that Vick was laying the foundation for a six-year lifestyle premised on gambling and fighting dogs and killing dogs deemed unfit to fight, maybe the former Falcons coach is simply too connected to the life that Vick used to lead, the life that Vick is trying to forget.
Or maybe Vick simply hasn’t changed.
We’ll find out more not long after Monday, July 20, when Vick will be able to let the cameras into his home and give us all a glimpse of the guy he has now become.
Even if it’s the same guy we’ve always known.