Vick Mulling Over Plea Deal

With the prospect of facing seven possible witnesses (including his three former co-defendants) that could place him as the central figure in the dog fighting operation, Michael Vick may be ready to play ball with federal prosecutors. Pressure has been increasing by the minute on the Atlanta Falcons star quarterback to strike a deal. Vick reportedly has been conferring via conference call with his attorneys for hours Wednesday and into the early morning of Thursday.

The conferring and possible plea agreement came after it was found out that Vick’s two remaining co-defendants (Purnell Peace and Quanis Phillips) are scheduled for plea hearings at 9:00 AM Friday August 17th. That date and time ironically is the cutoff time for Vick to come forward and accept a similar deal to avoid the wrath of federal investigators. Vick, who has already pleaded “not guilty” to dogfighting conspiracy charges is scheduled to go to trial on November 26th, but the case may never reach that date.

Collins R. Spencer III, a spokesman for Vick’s attorneys, said Wednesday afternoon “The defense and Michael are meeting”. The parties are discussing a reported possible deal that has been laid out by federal prosecutors where Vick would serve jail time, but not the entire 5 year maximum. ESPN.com is reporting that Vick is looking for a term of no more than a year, but that may not be feasible given the public’s eye on the case. Vick still has the option of fighting it out in court, but I believe that is one blitz he doesn’t want to face especially with the government talking about charging him with more crimes.

We will have to see where the case goes, but I believe in the next few hours Vick will make his decision and either way we have probably seen the last of Michael Vick in a NFL uniform.   NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has given Vick a “leave of absence” – legal for you will be suspended but don’t come around and you will get paid – while the league has their own attorney and investigator Eric Holder snooping into the case. Holder was scheduled to probably look over the evidence until next week and then we will hear a commissioner’s ruling. If Vick pleads “guilty” you may see a swifter decision.  It was leaked by Yahoo.com earlier and denied by the NFL that Goodell had already decided to suspend Vick for the whole season for conduct detrimental to the league. I believe that Vick would be lucky just to receive a year’s suspension, because he apparently has already lied to Goodell at the NFL Draft in April about his involvement with dog fighting and he may also apparently have ties to the NFL’s biggest taboo gambling. The association to gambling could lead to Vick receivce as much as a lifetime ban from the NFL.  After the commissioner blesses whatever suspension, then look for the Falcons and their owner Arthur Blank to forget about an ordinary 4 game suspension and outright release Vick, who was once described by Blank as “The Face of the Atlanta Falcons” when the quarterback signed a 10-year; $130 million contract extension in 2003 that included a then NFL-record $37 million dollars guaranteed. The team would have to eat $6 Million dollars in 2007 and $15 Million in 2008 on the salary cap, but those amounts would well worth it to get rid of probably the NFL’s biggest legal headache ever.

The Falcons and their new Head Coach Bobby Petrino have already moved on with Joey Harrington at quarterback for better or worse (6-9 for 88 yards in a 31-16 loss to the Jets) without even a whisper of Vick’s name. The machine that is the NFL has also continued to roll on toward the start of the 2007 NFL season on September 6th without one of their once promising showstoppers. The NFL has almost 1600 players including Reggie Bush, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and others all with their own unique talents and stories, so the league is going to make sure that their overall product (the NFL) is marketed and no one player will be bigger than the league. Even if Vick can some how beat the growing laundry list of charges and that is a big “if” or only serve a 1 year sentence, I still don’t think NFL will wnt anything to do with him.  Even rogue owners Al Davis (Raiders) and Jerry Jones (Cowboys) would have to stay a from Vick due to the public’s outrage.  There is no doubt Vick even if away from the game for a year has talent as athlete, but even that short of a timeframe will cause his skills to rust, people to forget about him, and he will never live down being dubbed “America’s Dog Fighter” .

The next few days may bring a sad conclusion to the Vick Dog Fighting saga, but no one will be a winner in the end especially Vick, unless you consider playing in the AF2 league in your thirties for small crowds as a good ending (just ask former Cowboys QB Quincy Carter).

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