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Jets Should Take a Flyer on Michael Vick

FLORHAM PARK, NJ - MAY 02:  Quarterback Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets throws a pass during minicamp on May 2, 2009 at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in Florham Park, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Cecil HarrisCorrespondent IJuly 22, 2009

If Jets owner Woody Johnson keeps his word, then you’ll never see Michael Vick in a New York Jets uniform, unless you have Photoshop.

 

Asked about Vick, the infamous former dogfighter whose 23 months of confinement ended Monday, Johnson said, “We’ve got Kellen Clemens and now we have this young Mark Sanchez, and I think we are good on quarterbacks.”

 

That’s what every NFL team owner will say about Vick...in July.

 

Vick, the former Atlanta Falcons All-Pro, has yet to sit down with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and apologize for lying to Goodell’s face three years ago about his involvement in an odious dogfighting enterprise.

 

Vick, 29, has yet to hold his first post-incarceration news conference where he expresses sincere remorse for his crimes and announces his intention to use his money and name recognition to become an animal rights advocate.

 

Assuming he does that (and if he doesn’t, there’s no point in discussing a Vick comeback), then he deserves a second chance to play in the NFL.

 

And the Jets should give strong consideration to signing him.

 

No, I’m not suggesting the Jets turn Coach Rex Ryan’s first training camp into a media circus by signing Vick in the next couple of weeks. I don’t believe any NFL team will do that.

 

But, eventually, an NFL team will sign Vick. And the attention-grabbers from PETA (who even criticized President Obama last month for killing a fly during a TV interview) will be enraged enough to picket that team’s headquarters.

 

Then, all the heat will dissipate as assuredly as humid July days give way to crisp autumn Sundays, and Vick will wear an NFL jersey again.

 

As Jets wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery put it, “He is a talented player, so someone will give him a shot.”

 

The Jets shouldn’t be afraid to give Vick a shot. Not as an impediment to Sanchez, their quarterback to the future. But Vick would have value as an insurance policy and impact player off the bench.

 

Offensive innovation has not been the Jets’ strong suit in recent years. The team simply has not put enough playmakers on the field.

 

So even though Vick would bring more baggage than a 747, the man has made plays in the NFL, and he will again.

 

Brad Smith would not be nearly as potent a weapon in a Jets’ Wildcat package as Vick would be. Vick would give the Jets an even better run-pass option in the Wildcat than Pat White will for the Miami Dolphins this year.

 

And, remember, NFL starting quarterbacks get hurt. Often. The New England Patriots lost Tom Brady for the season in Week One last year.

 

Be honest: If the man Woody Johnson calls “this young Mark Sanchez” misses games because of injury, or proves he’s not quite ready to take the reins in the Sept. 13 opener at Houston, are you confident that Kellen Clemens or Erik Ainge can take the Jets anywhere?

 

Vick has not played in an NFL game since Dec. 31, 2006. But, again, somebody will sign him, because he has had success playing a position where the number of true impact players are few.

 

“The backup quarterbacks in the NFL are terrible,” former All-Pro receiver Cris Carter said Monday on ESPN. “He should play in the NFL again.”

 

True. And the Jets should be willing to take a flyer on Vick.

 

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