On Sunday night, NBC’s Tony Dungy said that he advised quarterback Mike Vick to steer clear of the Oakland Raiders. This implied that the Raiders wanted Vick.
We reported the next day that the Raiders didn’t want Vick. Indeed, we’re told that the Raiders never even made an inquiry.
Now, Vick himself says he didn’t say “no” to Oakland, and he says that the opportunity never arose.
And the opportunity never arose because the Raiders never called.
“When I got released from prison, I didn’t care where I would have
played,” Vick said in advance of his trip to Oakland as the Eagles prepare to play the Raiders, per Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News. “It really didn’t come up. I think coach Dungy just wanted
me to be in a place where I was going to be protected, and I just
wouldn’t have a lot of pressure on me. I think that’s what he meant.”
And although Dungy suggested that he told Vick not to go to Oakland because of the overall condition of the team, Vick suggests that any reluctance to join the Raiders arose from the fact that his presence would have undermined current starter JaMarcus Russell.
“If I’d have gone there, there would have just been a lot of
quarterback controversy,” Vick said. “I think the most important thing
is for JaMarcus to get his reps and get a feel for the game and place,
to prove that he can play in this league. You don’t get too many years
to prove that. They’ve given him his shot, and he deserved it.”
Baloney. Vick would have jumped on any chance to get back on the field on a full-time basis, regardless of whether Russell or McNabb or Montana or Unitas had to be benched to make it happen.