So, as you can imagine, I'm really qualified to give him shit about this weird column that is now a few days old. Sorry, got sidetracked by a cold.
You can only imagine what was going through Michael Vick's mind as NFL commissioner Roger Goodell emerged from the left side of the Radio City Music Hall stage, walked to the podium, leaned toward the microphone and said, "With the third pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons select [dramatic pause] Matt Ryan, quarterback."
I can imagine what he might have been thinking, but it's mostly just cliched prison humor. I mean, nothing quite as putrid as "Man, I hope I don't drop the soap!", but still nothing really worth sharing. Point is, Vick was probably thinking about prison. You know, because he's in prison. Prison prison prison.
In the time it took to say those two words -- Matt Ryan -- Vick's Falcons career, or what remained of it, came to a final resting place on the NFL sea bottom. There will be no comeback in Atlanta. Perhaps there will be no comeback at all.
For all those who doubt Matty Ice, just remember he apparently had the power to do what absolutely horrendous decision-making, a massive scandal, public outrage, and a two-year stay in Leavenworth could not...destroy another dude's career. How is that not the stuff NFL quarterbacks are made of?
What a weird, weird Saturday it must have been for Vick, especially if he had access to the television feeds of the draft.
I'm sure our readers have more intimate knowledge of Leavenworth than I do - honestly, I'd be disappointed if we have any readers that aren't former inmates - and so maybe they know better than I do, but is ESPN and/or the NFL Network really something inmates get to watch? Is the draft really that big of a deal? Because if it is, Wilbon is going to have a field day with this.
When [general manager Thomas] Dimitroff said days before the draft that Atlanta's picks would be "needs-based," he could have been referring to the Falcons' apparent need to distance themselves from Vick.
Or their need to have, you know, a quarterback. Seriously, here's their depth chart:
1. Chris Redman (Chris Fucking Redman!)
2. Joey Harrington (Joey Fucking Harrington!)
3. D.J. Shockley (I thought he was OK, but he's somehow two slots behind Chris Fucking Redman. Ergo, D.J. Fucking Shockley!)
That's a sub-Dolphins depth chart right there (especially now that super stud/human cannon/Polynesian love god Chad Henne has joined the crew). That's more than enough need to justify a non-euphemistic use of "need-based", I'd say.
Ryan is the opposite of Vick in so many ways, which is exactly why the Falcons chose him.
Please play the race card, please play the race card, please play the race card...
Think about it: prototypical pocket passer versus hybrid runner/passer...
Which are two things associated with which races, Gene? Come on, stop beating around the bush...you know you want to...
"sneaky" athletic versus once-in-a-lifetime athletic...
Wait...if I'm following this correctly, Gene is saying Matty Ice is "sneaky." "Sneaky"? To describe a white dude? Wow, Gene might actually be subverting all my expectations about shitty, racially-charged journalism. In the sense that this isn't shitty, racially-charged journalism.
32 career college starts versus Vick's 20 starts at Virginia Tech...
Did you know 32 is the opposite of 20? Me neither. Although do you have to take the "at Virginia Tech" part into the equation? So wait, I think it's...
(20 + VA Tech) * -1 = 32
ESPN is rewriting mathematics, I tell you! About damn time, if you ask me. Never trusted those integrands.
no off-field issues versus, uh, once-in-a-lifetime athletic...
Come on, why won't Gene explicitly place this in the prism of the ongoing problems of race relations? When the hell did you start being responsible, Gene?
The Falcons didn't come right out and say they were looking for squeaky-clean, but they used the buzzwords. They gushed about Ryan's leadership skills, his competitiveness, and the "new dimension" he brings to the team -- that new dimension being no CNN video of a Ryan-financed dogfighting compound.
To be fair, I'm pretty sure Chris Redman brings that dimension too. Although he did once forget to feed his Tamagotchi for a whole four days back in '98, so I guess that's kind of the same thing.
Meanwhile, you can find Vick at 1300 Metropolitan Ave. in Leavenworth, just off Highway 73. According to the federal government's penitentiary Web site, inmate Vick (Register No. 33765-183) is eligible for release July 20, 2009. Training camp time.
There's also a possibility Vick could be transferred to a halfway house as early as January 2009, but only if he is admitted into a residential drug abuse program and a paycheck. His most likely employer: an NFL team.
I don't really have a joke here, but I'm pretty sure the correct answer is "an Arena Football League team." Or maybe Mark Cuban's crazy new football league would decide to build their entire league around him. Hell, he might just be the Mavs' next point guard if things keep going the way they're going. ZING!
Turns out I did have a joke there. Just a really shitty one.
Again, weird how this works out. The man who shook Ryan's hand and helped the BC quarterback hold up a Falcons No. 1 jersey on Saturday -- Goodell -- is the same man who ultimately will decide whether Vick can rejoin the league.
I'll give credit to Gene for not calling that "ironic." That's sort of something, I guess. But "weird"? Those are just two functions that Goodell regularly fulfills. I mean, it might be weird if Jim Mora, Jr. was currently working as a warden at Leavenworth, I guess, but other than that? Not a lot of weirdness here.
The rest is about how Al Davis might be crazy enough to give Vick a job, except for the whole "He already gave millions and millions to JaMarcus Russell" thing, and how Vick could maybe be converted into an Antwaan Randel El clone, neither of which sounds very likely. Let's just skip to the end...
Now he counts the days to freedom, to a meeting and a handshake with Goodell. Most of all, he wants what Ryan got.
A job and a chance.
Mr. Vick, if you're ever looking for a job, Fire Everybody has a spot reserved for you. You can be our hockey blogger!