- John Clayton, NFL senior writer
- 0 Shares
Determining where Michael Vick could end up is the ultimate guessing game. No one is talking and no one is going to talk.
Publicity usually tends to close doors for Vick, not open them. Remember when 49ers coach Mike Singletary spoke off the top of his head and said he might be interested in Vick? The organization came back later and said no.
A couple of years ago, I remember innocently mentioning the Raiders as a possible option. My rationale was how Al Davis has been generous through the years in giving second chances to talented athletes. Within hours of making that statement, I got an angry call from the Raiders. That's why you won't see the Raiders as a possibility.
The team that shows interest in Vick must be strong. There will be protests by dog lovers. The team that signs him must have ownership that can accept his transgressions with dogfighting. Vick must hope that there are people in powerful positions who are willing to give him a second chance.
Vick was released from prison Wednesday to serve the rest of his sentence in home confinement. If things go right for him and commissioner Roger Goodell allows Vick to return to the NFL after two years in prison, he could be at training camp around Aug. 10, according to a source.
Here are some unconfirmed -- repeat unconfirmed -- possibilities.
1. St. Louis Rams: The Rams are set at quarterback with Marc Bulger, but the organization has someone who knows Vick -- general manager Billy Devaney. After being in prison the past two years, Vick can't be expected to come in and be a regular, every-down player. He's missed too much time and he just hired a trainer to get him ready for a training camp. Kyle Boller was signed to a one-year contract as a backup quarterback. On paper, the Rams aren't viewed as a playoff contender. Devaney and new coach Steve Spagnuolo are trying to rebuild the talent base. If Devaney gets the approval of ownership, Vick could be an interesting prospect for the future.
2. Seattle Seahawks: Jim Mora was Vick's head coach in Atlanta during some of Vick's best days. Mora is on the record as being one of Vick's biggest supporters and has kept in touch with him during the past couple of years. Selling Vick's signing to owner Paul Allen might be tough, though. Allen purchased the Seahawks as a community service to keep the franchise in town. The benevolent owner might not be willing to accept the potentially bad publicity that could come from a Vick signing. The Seahawks are set at quarterback with Matt Hasselbeck and Seneca Wallace. But Vick knows he has a friend in Mora.
3. San Francisco 49ers: Despite their initial denials of interest, the 49ers do make football sense for Vick. Their quarterback situation is as uncertain as any in the league. Shaun Hill has the edge over Alex Smith, but both quarterbacks have a lot to prove. Singletary wants to establish a run-dominated offense built around Frank Gore. No quarterback runs the ball as well as Vick. Even if he would just come on the field in specific packages, Vick could augment San Francisco's ground attack.
4. New England Patriots: This is an example of a great organization with a head coach (Bill Belichick) who is strong enough to take a gamble on talent. If Belichick is interested, he'd first have to convince his owner, Robert Kraft. That might be tough. Kraft cares about the public image of his franchise. It's also not known if Kraft could accept Vick's transgressions. But let's look at it from the football side. The Dolphins are light years ahead of the rest of the league in running the Wildcat offense. They drafted Pat White in the second round to carry the Wildcat to new levels. Because the Patriots must prepare for the Wildcat, why not bring in Vick, the ultimate Wildcat weapon? The Patriots haven't reached outside to replace Matt Cassel. If Kraft accepts him, Vick could be an interesting possibility for a few plays per game in New England.
John Clayton, a recipient of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's McCann Award for distinguished reporting, is a senior writer for ESPN.com.