We’ve been trying our best to separate our feelings regarding Mike Vick’s off-field actions (deplorable, horrific, and potentially bad enough to justify a lifetime NFL ban) from our opinions regarding his on-field abilities (still good enough to start at quarterback in the NFL).
As to the latter proposition, more and more people who have direct knowledge of Vick’s skills are throwing water on the fairly widespread notion that the second portion of his pro football career should involve a role other than every-down quarterback.
Cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who has an extensive history with Vick, thinks that Vick should still be under center on a full-time basis.
“I definitely see him as a quarterback, and I can’t see him as anything else,” Hall recently told Bryan McGovern and Dean Dalton of Sirius NFL Radio’s Late Hits. “I don’t know if I’m just blinded and I got my blockers on because that’s all I’ve known him as, but his brother was actually a heck of an athlete, too. When I was at Virginia Tech, they played him at receiver and he caught a couple of touchdowns in a bowl game, so he’s definitely, I think, a little bit more athletic as far as playing other positions than Mike is.
“But I definitely see Mike as strictly a quarterback. And anytime you’ve been to [three] Pro Bowls as a quarterback, I think it’s pretty safe to say you know what you’re doing.”
In our view, some of the folks who believe he should not play quarterback only might be allowing their feelings regarding his criminal misconduct to cloud their assessment of his football skills.
And, trust us, it’s not easy to keep those two things separate.
That said, there’s still no guarantee that he’s getting back in. Though we suspect that the recent report from ESPN’s Chris Mortensen and Sal Paolantonio of a conditional reinstatement as soon as next week is right on the money, Vick still needs to be contrite, remorseful, and most importantly truthful when meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Vick already has lied to Goodell. And, when they meet, Goodell undoubtedly will ask Vick questions to which Goodell already knows the answer. And if Vick fails to tell the whole truth even one time, Goodell rightly should shut him down for at least a full year.
The key moving forward is whether Vick can be trusted not to get in trouble again. Unless he’s willing to embrace fully and completely his past actions, it’s simply not safe to conclude that he has sufficiently changed.