In something of a surprise move, the NFL has reinstated Michael Vick effective Week 6 under conditional terms.
The door is ajar for Michael Vick to return to the NFL. Only Vick, and any team willing to sign him, can open it fully.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell reinstated Vick on Monday, with conditions. Free after serving 18 months in prison for running a dogfighting ring, Vick could participate in regular-season games as early as October.
Vick can immediately take part in preseason practices, workouts and meetings and can play in the final two preseason games -- if he can find a team. A number of clubs have already said they are not interested.
Once the season begins, Vick may participate in all team activities except games, and Goodell said he would consider Vick for full reinstatement by Week 6 (Oct. 18-19) at the latest.
I'm kind of surprised. Roger Goodell seems like the kind of guy who wants to take his own pound of flesh. I thought the most likely scenario was Vick getting another year of vacation and going to the UFL.
What does this mean for the Jets? We've discussed it in the past week. Woody Johnson says there's no chance. He's desperately trying to sell tickets. He doesn't want the bad PR.
I think the Jets are right to stay away from Vick but for a different reason. I have no problem with him coming back into the league. What he did was terrible, but he has paid his debt to society. He has lost his freedom, his reputation, millions of dollars, and two of the prime years of his career. He's gotten what's coming to him. My issue is this. The Jets just took Mark Sanchez to be their franchise quarterback. What kind of signal would it be sending to him if the team signed a former Pro Bowl singal caller a few months later? Sanchez has enough pressure on him. Do we really want him looking over his shoulder? What if he gets off to a slow start? By October, WFAN's switchboards will be lighting up with callers who would want Vick in the lineup.
I get that Vick would be a great backup and a gadget weapon, but Sanchez is the Jets' guy. It's not his team yet. They need to put him in the best situation possible, not make any move that risks undermining him.