Cut Mike Vick.
I'm not kidding.
If you are the Atlanta Falcons, do you really think the whole "Experience" is going to end with something special? With a trip to the Super Bowl? With Vick having matured into a true team leader?
I'm willing to bet a very, very, very large sum of money that this will NEVER happen.
How can I be so sure? Because, like a lot of sports fans over the age of 20 or so, I've seen lots of athletes of all different stripes over the years. We observe. We compare. We remember.
I don't ever remember a low-character athlete, who totally remade himself into a winner in his career. Either you get it, or you don't.
Mike Vick doesn't "get it." Period. That much is obvious.
Even though Vick got an "all clear" from the lab regarding his mystery bottle of hidden ashes, he's not clear of using horrible judgment. We know this much. He was smuggling SOMETHING through security. And you have to wonder: "Why even take the risk?"
So how many good coaches do you want to burn through, trying to find one of them who can "utilize Vick's talents" and "reach" a guy who seems programmed to do stupid things.
Earlier this year, Jim Mora Sr. agreed with my Fox Sports Radio colleague Craig Shemon that Vick was a "coach killer". He quickly resigned from our network (in a snit, to be honest) because the quote made big waves in the sports-o-sphere.
In a nutshell, the comment was TOO TRUTHFUL to be ignored, dismissed, or downplayed. The truth always hurts, and the truth always gets people in the most trouble.
Cutting Vick would be a bold, dramatic move. It would be RIPPED by many, no doubt. It would cause some internal locker-room turmoil. And there's a chance -- a small chance -- that one day you would regret it.
It would cost the team a massive, massive, salary cap hit.
It would still be the best move the team could make. It would end the constant coddling of a guy who has a teenager's sense of responsibility. It would cause the remaining 52 guys on the roster to "straighten up and fly right," as my dad would say.
And as a bonus, you might actually begin starting the better quarterback on your roster.
None of Vick's little "incidents" alone are enough to say: "get rid of him." But taken together, it is a very damning resume of stupidity:
Giving a chick herpes, and calling himself "Ron Mexico."
Throwing teammates and coaches under the bus at every chance.
Flipping off the crowd at home.
Getting into a months-long dispute about a stolen watch at the airport (again.)
Now, the urge to carry dirty bongwater on an airplane.
The possibility he smokes weed is nothing. That he would think "I can get away with this because I'm Mike Vick," is far more troubling. That he can't properly evaluate the pros / cons of bringing weed hiding paraphernalia anywhere NEAR an airport, is most astounding.
And some are still amazed he can't handle NFL adversity, while being seemingly impervious to coaching.
I know what you are probably saying: "You CAN'T just CUT Michael Vick!"
Oh really, why not? Is it illegal? Would the players association file a grievance?
Part of me would LOVE to see exactly how many teams would rush in to sign the guy. I mean, I am sure somebody would. But I would bet it's a team that's pretty desperate. Like the Raiders.
Most teams, with a chance to acquire a "free" Mike Vick, would still say: "Forget how cheap we can get him, what will he ‘cost' our team once we get him?" How much of what we do now, needs to be ripped up to accommodate his style of play?
Is it overreacting to cut a player just because he got caught with a Maxwell Smart water bottle full of something fishy at the airport security line? I don't think so. I think keeping him after this would be under-reacting.
Think about it. Your quarterback needs to lead, both on the field and off. He needs to show good judgment, on the field and off. He needs to be accountable, on the field and off.
Vick is failing, in every category. No more "heart-to-heart talks" or "double-secret probation" will work. So cut him, and move on. How bad can it be?
When the Falcons dealt multiple picks and a player to San Diego to move up one slot to draft him, they took a huge risk. How come no teams ever want to take the "risk" of cutting sharply in a new direction on guys who are clearly not making it happen?
I know this much: Cutting him now, is much more of a "sure thing" to being a good move, than was surrendering all those picks and all that money hoping he would "re-invent the quarterback position."
Steve is a native Washingtonian and has worked in sports talk radio for the last 11 years. He worked at WTEM in 1993 anchoring Team Tickers before he took a full time job with national radio network One-on-One Sports.
A graduate of UC Santa Barbara, Steve has worked for WFNZ in Charlotte where his afternoon show was named "Best Radio Show." Steve continues to serve as a sports personality for WLZR in Milwaukee and does fill-in hosting for Fox Sports Radio.