In an interview with GQ that was published at the magazine’s website moments ago, Eagles quarterback Mike Vick tells Will Leitch that Vick, the 2010 Associated Press Comeback Player of the Year, didn’t want to play for the Eagles.
“I think I can say this now, because it’s not going to hurt anybody’s feelings, and it’s the truth. . . . I didn’t want to come to Philadelphia,” Vick said. “Being the third-team quarterback is nothing to smile about. Cincinnati and Buffalo were better options.”
Vick ultimately was persuaded — by Commissioner Roger Goodell and other NFL officials — to pick the Eagles. Bills and Bengals fans surely will be thrilled to know that the league office is participating in personnel decisions; they also would probably want to know why Vick was steered away from their teams. (Leitch writes that both the Bills and Bengals would have “allowed Vick to start”; it’s hard to imagine that the Bengals would have benched the guy they currently refuse to trade.)
The old Mike Vick would have ignored Goodell and anyone else who told him anything other than that which Vick wanted to do; the new Mike Vick heeds such advice. But the old Mike Vick still made a cameo appearance during the interview, when he took the position that only the media cares about his history of dogfighting, gambling, and . . . what else was there? Oh yeah, killing in cold blood dogs that were deemed unfit to fight other dogs.
“They are writing as if everyone feels that way and has the same opinions they do,” Vick said. “But when I go out in public, it’s all positive, so that’s obviously not true.”
We’re not sure we buy that logic. When it’s time to sniff jocks, lots of people become more than a little phony. Then there’s the fact that we all love a good redemption story, so we all root for Vick on his ride back to the top.
The media, frankly, is part of that. Plenty of reporters have moved on completely from Vick’s dogfighting days, and it will be a major issue again only if the Eagles make it to the Super Bowl and Vick is subjected to the intense scrutiny that goes along with it.
Or if Vick starts fighting dogs again.
We doubt that the latter will ever come to fruition, but from time to time we see periodic flashes of the old Mike Vick, like when he bailed on his interview with Oprah Winfrey. And even if the new Mike Vick is smart enough to never fight dogs again, there are other ways in which the old Mike Vick can make trouble for the new Mike Vick.
The new Mike Vick realizes that it’s important to demonstrate contrition for his crimes. But the old Mike Vick inches closer to the surface at times, indignant over the fact that he went to jail for something that he’d probably still be doing if he hadn’t been caught.