The only difference between the toxic assets on Wall Street and Vick is that there are some negotiations underway to turn financial investments gone bad into stakes that are viable. In the football world surrounding Vick, we haven't heard of any such chitchat. There is something wrong about that.
As President Obama would say, let me be clear: I have a dog, a Nova Scotia Duck-Tolling Retriever. I donate to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. I've written and stated on various platforms that I think what Vick admitted to doing with dogs was heinous and that he deserved every day of the 18 months for which he served in prison after being convicted of running a dogfighting operation. Dogfighting is and should be illegal in this country and any other that considers itself civilized. I don't feel bad about what Vick brought upon himself the past couple of years.
NFL boss Roger Goodell conditionally reinstated Vick late last month shortly after NFL training camps started opening. Goodell said Vick can sign with any team and begin playing by the sixth week of this season. Reporters in every NFL market started querying their local teams almost immediately about their interest in Vick and, so far, at least two dozen teams have said they're not interested. Several teams declined to comment and a few offered the stance the Packers took Tuesday, which was noncommittal at best.
This is how a case of collusion is constructed. I trust new NFL players' union head DeMaurice Smith is watching closely.
After all, Vick still isn't 30; he turned 29 just six weeks ago. The only thing he should have on his body from being out of the game for two years, and locked up for much of it, is rust. A training camp and a few preseason games should knock that off. Vick was about to enter his prime in quarterback years in the NFL.
That isn't the main reason that Vick's absence so far at an NFL training camp is conspicuous. It is because of who else is in NFL training camps.
When Vick ran himself out of the league before the start of the 2007 season, he had led his original NFL employer, the Atlanta Falcons, to a 38-28-1 regular season record and a 2-2 mark in the playoffs. His regular-season .567 winning percentage was sixth best among other quarterbacks then with at least 40 starts. Some of those quarterbacks, who he was better than then, are still playing today.
Some are guys who've been given second leases on their careers like Chad Pennington, who was reborn last season in Miami. He led the Dolphins to an 11-5 record in 2008 after going 32-29 with the Jets. His winning percentage, .558, still isn't as good as Vick's.
Despite Kerry Collins going 12-3 as a starter last season with the Titans, he still has a sub-.500 mark after all his years in the NFL.
Marc Bulger fell under .500 last season after a horrific campaign with the woeful Rams.
Then there are the guys who've come on the scene just as Vick was leaving it, like this week's Sports Illustrated cover boy, Jason Campbell. He's just 16-20 as a starter and his bosses last offseason were rumored to have tried to pry Jay Cutler from Denver or move up in the draft in order to pick Mark Sanchez.
Matt Schaub has managed a 10-12 mark with Houston the past two seasons since picking up where David Carr left off. Carr was buried deep on the Giants' depth chart last season. He is now another backup in the NFL who doesn't possess the potential productivity of Vick.
Some of those guys I've mentioned are, no doubt, better pure quarterbacks than Vick. They throw the ball sharper. They look more like the prototype pro quarterback.
Vick was never the prototype; he was the new type.
Vick probably didn't hone his throwing skill while in the hoosegow. Until further notice, he probably is still the 53.8 percent completion passer he was when he left the league. That's terrible. Only one QB in the league last season was more erratic. Vick has only recorded a quarterback rating better than 80 once, which was his second season in the league. That stinks, too.
The last season we saw Vick, however, he posted more TDs through the air than ever, 20, and combined that with his most-lethal campaign ever as runner, which is what separates him from everyone else. He scampered for over 1,000 yards.
Imagine Vick being employed in a Wildcat system, the old-fangled Wing T or Wishbone-type of offense that was a retro rage last season? If there is a general manager or coach in the league who doesn't want that kind of threat in its offensive backfield they are lying. Wall Street gave a second chance to '80s finance crook Michael Milken and he hasn't strayed. He even continued paying his debt through philanthropy. Vick could do the same.
Vick can't afford to venture down the same path again that got him in so much trouble. One more transgression and he'll be in the same unemployment line like a record number of other citizens right now.
But Vick deserves that chance to screw up one last time, and if he isn't granted it soon he should get his lawyer Billy Martin to find out why.