The Vick and pony show


It’s hard to label anything that involves Tony Dungy as a dog and pony show.

Considering Michael Vick’s’ felonious and well-documented transgressions, that’s probably not the way to describe what went on today in Philadelphia.

There is a lot not to like about the way the Raiders go about their dealings with both the public and the media, but to their credit, you would never have seen them propping themselves up as something virtuous simply for signing a quarterback who just got out of jail.

This isn’t to say Vick doesn’t deserve a second chance. He’s paid his debt and then some, and Vick sounds remorseful and said the right things.

But to hear Andy Reid, Jeffrey Lurie and, yes, even Dungy, talk about how it was more important to salvage Vick as a person than as a football player, was way over the top in terms of spin.

Vick was signed because the Eagles think $1.6 million is a gamble worth taking for a one-time explosive talent who could conceivably help win some games.

As long as he doesn’t get arrested, Vick’s tenure will be judged by how many games he helped the Eagles win. That rough Philly crowd? The first time Vick rips off a 60-yard run, they’ll be eating out of his hand. If Vick fumbles and throws interceptions, he’ll be the criminal that killed all those dogs and then lied about it.

Sorry, but I’ve seen this act before.

A decade ago, the 49ers, in need of a running back to pair with Charlie Garner following Garrison Hearst’s ankle surgery, signed Lawrence Phillips to a two-year contract worth $1.75 million. We won’t even go into Phillips’ rap sheet, suffice that he was nearly as dangerous to humans as Vick was to dogs.

The 49ers grimly recognized all Phillips’ issues, but decided to give him another chance.

“Our hope and our expectations are that his troubles are behind him . . . it’s something had to methodically research and then move forward to reach the agreement,” G.M. Bill Walsh said.

Dr. Harry Edwards, the team consultant, had inteviewed Phillips when he was drafted out of Nebraska and again before the 49ers signed him and said, “The difference between what I saw then and what I see now are substantial, and it was on that basis that I urged the 49ers to sign him.”

Edwards said Phillips now seemed inclined to accept authority.

Phillips, for his part, said he had been “humbled.”

The Tony Dungy in this case was Dick Vermeil, the man who drafted Phillips for the St. Louis Rams, later cut him, but helped convince Walsh it was a project worth taking on.

Why was it worth taking on?

Because the 49ers thought Phillips could help replace Hearst’s yardage. They were seduced by his talent and the potential for touchdowns.

Turns out, Phillips was still a bad guy, which he remains to this day as he sits in a California state prison after being found guilty on seven counts of assault with a deadly weapon. He also missed the block on Aeneas Williams that ended the career of Steve Young.

No one is saying Phillips is another Vick, but the truth is no one really knows how Vick will react. He’s being given a second chance because he is a gifted athlete, and the fact that the Eagles can take credit for rehabilitating a criminal and raising awareness of animal abuse if it all works out is merely an ancillary benefit.

The Eagles would have been better off saying, “Just win.”

I’ll check in later after Tom Cable’s conference call, scheduled for 5 p.m.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • Tonio

    all focus has to be on SD and opening night… every thing we do from now till then… If Javon is true and ready…that’ll be such an added plus… Chaz… wow.. that kid is gonna make a HUGE difference… and as a Tim Brown fan… I’m glad someone good is in that number! (Miller light #89 ๐Ÿ˜€ wicked man wicked) gotta find a way to keep him involved.

  • Nnamdi21

    50. Griffith or Oren would’ve gotten a little more out of that…:)

  • Jon Richie lol

  • Nnamdi21

    51. Man, I have to say I’m uneasy seeing 81 and 12 for that matter on the field.

    The Raiders should consider Stabler and Brown’s numbers for retirement.

  • Nnamdi21

    Slade looked good on a couple of run plays…

  • Nnamdi21

    Morrison didn’t…

  • I’ve watched the game 3 times already, and I’ll settle in later with some Rum and watch it again

  • Bey does look explosive off the line

  • Just saw this sign on the local news here, doing a story on Philly reaction to Vick coming to town:

    “Hide your beagle, Vick is an eagle.”

  • DKnight007

    I wonder iF Philly plays at the Dog Pound this year??


  • Slade Norris did like very good, and looked comfortable in space making tackles. Those Oregon State kids always seem to play hard and the right way, a team-oriented style and usually seem pretty “head-strong”. Did you guys know Oregon State had the second most draft picks of any school (9), behind USC? Take that SEC homers!!!

  • Marshall still has a lot of work to do, in breaking the Defense of all the bad habits learned under Robbo.

  • DarthPirate

    Reggie Bush: 2 Rush, 0 yards.

    Chad Johnson looks sharp though.

  • Chris in NY

    National Football Post is reporting the Raiders worked out OLB Morlon Greenwood and that Derrick Brooks is going to visit Oakland.

    They should really bring FA DE Vonnie Holliday in too. Scott just isn’t an every down DE at this point. He’s better off in that Chris Clemons role from two years ago. Holliday + Ellis at the DE spots with Richardson, Shaughnessy and Scott subbing in is a solid mix.

  • Chris in NY

    vegas raider Says:
    August 14th, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    Slade Norris did like very good, and looked comfortable in space making tackles. Those Oregon State kids always seem to play hard and the right way, a team-oriented style and usually seem pretty โ€œhead-strongโ€.


    I agree. Norris was very impressive for his first game. Looked like a future starter to me — possibly even this season.
    David Nixon looked decent too. Should at least be a practice squad guy. Didn’t he recover the fumbled punt?

  • Tonio

    Nnamdi… It’s odd seeing the numbers on the field… I’ll agree.. .but I’d rather us put up a “ring of fame” for the numbers… keep them around… keep the opportunity for more greatness to flourish with the numbers. Chaz, with a maturing Russell could be come a true star I think.

  • Kush

    New post guys…