Write this down: Michael Vick’s return to the NFL in 2010 will be the league’s biggest non-Super Bowl Sunday. And it just might even be in a Falcons’ uniform.
Loony as it might sound, I’m willing to say you read it here first after watching Vick on the first day of the rest of his life. It wasn’t perfect, but it was real. That is what I felt as I watched a young man who had been a football player for most of his life finally begin to be a man.
This could all bite me in the butt someday. Because in the end it is not what you say but what you do. But Michael Vick HAD to say something and he said it well.
Though he had notes, he seemed to speak extemporaneously. It seemed to come from deep inside that place where few of us (and, yes, I’m one of them) have to go when life strips us of what we know (or what we thought we knew) and forces us to SEE what perhaps we do not remotely want to see: Our bare selves.
Though his words were not perfect, he said all the right things. He spoke with humility. He apologized to those he lied to (particualrly NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Atlanta falcons owner Arther Blank), and, most important, he found some context for his predicament by talking to our kids.
If he gives the Feds what they want (names) and continues to show contrition, I believe Goodell will revisit the indefinite suspension and perhaps allow Vick to be eligible for return to the NFL as soon as the day he leaves prision. Maybe more likely no longer than a year later.
As for the Falcons, Blank, maybe the biggest two-legged victim in this drama, has a true heart. And as much as he’d been hurt, what I heard to day was the voice of a forgiving man. In time – IN TIME – I would not be surprised to see him welcomed home. Imagine the night in ATL. Write it down.
Michael Vick now has a tremendous opportunity. He has an opportunity to have an impact five-fold beyond what he could have done as a mere football player. He has a platform now (or whenever he gets out of prison) to make a difference. I don’t know how yet (although I know I’m not talking about on a football field). And probably neither does he. But it’s there. We’ll see what he does it with it.
Vick said this experience made him “find Jesus,” and that he’d “turned his life over to Christ.” As a man of faith myself, I was conflicted of sorts. I wanted to say, “Hallelujah!.” But at the same time, the cynical journalist in him kicked into high-gear and busted out laughing. Well, duh. If you lose $71 million and DON’T find Jesus, well, then you are stone cold going-to-hell fool!
It was an enjoyable moment but my faith side prevailed. I’ll give Michael Vick his due. I’ll praise his conversion and pray that now he shows us all what God can do. In truth, he’s already done so.