Reeves says he would 'do anything I could to help Mike'
That offer still stands, even though Vick is now under federal indictment for allegedly hosting dogfights and brutally killing pit bulls.
"Sure, I'd do anything I could to help Mike," Reeves said Friday. "I think he's basically a good person. Unfortunately it just seems like he's made some bad choices over the years with the company he keeps."
Vick's problems aren't just about football. Public outrage ensued after he and three others were charged with competitive dogfighting, procuring and training pit bulls for fighting, and conducting the enterprise across state lines.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell spoke Friday with members of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals while approximately 50 activists with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals protested outside his office in New York.
Nike announced this week that it would suspend release of Vick's latest signature shoe, prompting the National Humane Society to demand that the shoe and apparel company pull all Vick-endorsed products from stores.
The indictment and ensuing uproar has "shocked and saddened" Reeves, who initially called Vick earlier this summer to invite him to play in a charity golf tournament. But the former coach also wanted Vick, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, to know that many people could help him clear up his image.
"Like most everybody else, I'd heard a lot of the things that could've happened in his life over the last year or so," Reeves said. "I was shocked and saddened to hear about the dogfighting. Unfortunately, when you look at it, it seems like he's had the same circle of friends he had as a kid."
Vick hardly helped himself or the Falcons when he gestured obscenely to fans at the Georgia Dome following a lopsided loss to New Orleans last year. He promised the next day that he would never embarrass Atlanta fans again.
"I don't know where it came from," Vick said last Nov. 27, "but the people who know me know that's not me and that's not my character."
Vick was a 20-year-old Virginia Tech sophomore six years ago when Reeves drafted him No. 1 overall in the NFL.
During his three seasons with Vick, Reeves considered him as a person who earned respect in the locker room but usually kept to himself once he left the team's complex.
"Maybe that's because he kept hanging out with a few guys he grew up with instead of making more friends on the team," Reeves said. "During the first two years, Mike prepared as hard as anybody. He never left anything on the field, and he had the kind of speed most people never saw at his position."
After Vick made two starts in eight games as a rookie behind Chris Chandler, the Falcons named him their starter in 2002. He led them to the playoffs and a stunning wildcard win at Green Bay.
Team owner Arthur Blank fired Reeves after Vick broke his ankle the following preseason and missed 12 starts. Atlanta went 3-1 when Vick returned, but his slow recovery all but ruined a season that finished 5-11.
Neither Vick nor his legal representatives has spoken publicly since the indictment was released.
The quarterback and his four associates will enter pleas Thursday at the U.S. District Court in Richmond, Va. The Falcons begin training camp the same day, but football seems the least of Vick's worries.
If convicted of both felony charges, the four face up to six years in prison, fines of up to $350,000 and restitution.
"When look at the big picture, you're talking about a quarterback who's had all the ability in the world, a guy who could've accomplished great things," Reeves said. "Maybe he still can, but it seems like he's made it awfully tough on himself."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
VICK SENTENCED TO 23 MONTHS
Michael Vick was sentenced to 23 months in federal prison and three years' probation for his role in a dogfighting conspiracy. The suspended Falcons quarterback is looking at a scheduled release of July 2009. Story
Update• GM: Falcons will attempt to trade Vick
• Lawyer: Vick might move to halfway house
• Former Vick estate fails to sell again
• Vick house fails to sell at auction
• Vick files for bankruptcy protection
• Prosecutor: Vick's Virginia trial can wait
• Vick ordered to repay Canadian bank $2.4 million
• Judge denies NFL motion to reverse Vick ruling
• Report: Vick not playing organized football in jail
• Report: Vick passes time with prison-yard football
• Vick's state dogfighting trial to begin June 27
• Munson: Vick yet to enter drug treatment
The sentence• Vick sent to Kansas to serve rest of sentence
• Vick asked judge for leniency before sentencing
• Vick sentenced to 23 months | Document (pdf)
• Poll: What do you think? | What they're saying
• Clayton: Sentence puts career in jeopardy
• Munson: Tough sentence by displeased judge
• Teammates show support at Falcons game
• Can Vick return to playing in NFL?
• Pasquarelli: No longer top of mind in Atlanta
• Last Vick co-defendant sentenced
• Podcasts : Cossack | Schlereth | Munson/Naqi | Pasquarelli
• Chat wrap: David Cornwell
Post Plea• NFL wants court to reverse Vick bonus ruling
• Victory for Vick: QB can keep $20 million bonus
• Fifth defendant in Vick case receives probation
• Vick's house for sale for $1.1M
• Some Falcons to visit Vick in prison
• PETA unveils new e-card
• Former Virginia estate fails to sell at auction
• Out of Falcons' sight, almost out of mind
• Judge's casework offers look at possible sentence
• Remaining dogs placed with rescue groups
• Source: Feds may push judge to up sentence
• NFLPA argues Vick should not lose roster bonus
• Vick co-defendants get 18, 21 months in prison
• Vick agrees to put up almost $1M for dogs' care
• Vick given April trial date on state charges
• Vick surrenders to begin serving sentence early
• Home at center of Vick dogfighting scandal sold
• Vick fires one of his lawyers in dogfighting case
• Man who sold Vick pit bull pleads guilty
• Man connected to Vick dogfight ring pleads guilty
• Third bank sues Vick, claims he defaulted on loan
• Arbiter: Falcons have right to reclaim bonuses
• PETA: Vick had class on animal cruelty
• Evaluations show 48 of Vick's dogs placeable
• Vick tests positive for marijuana
• Vick supporters turn out for town meeting
• Vick's apology notes fetch $10.2K at auction
Vick's Plea/NFL Suspension• Vick pleads guilty to federal dogfighting charge
• The plea (PDF) | Statement of facts (PDF)
• Vick's statement: Watch it | Read it
• Roger Cossack explains plea deal
• Poll: Vick should be banned
• Va. Tech, Beamer continue to support Vick
• Vick supporters drown out protesters
• NFL suspends Vick indefinitely | Goodell (PDF)
• Chris Mortensen on Vick's suspension
• Vick files plea agreement admitting to dogfighting
Indictment• Marbury's about-face: Vick 'is 100 percent wrong'
• National NAACP: Vick 'not a victim' | Audio
• Atlanta NAACP: Vick should be allowed to return
• Falcons come to terms with 'ex-teammate'
• Vick timeline | What they're saying
• Helyar: Even Atlanta turns against Vick
• Goodell: Vick not overshadowing season
• Vick co-defendant pleads guilty to charges
• Tony Taylor: Summary of Facts | Plea agreement
• Hometown residents stand by Vick
• Falcons had planned to suspend Vick
• Commish tells Vick to avoid camp
• Vick indicted | The indictment (pdf) | Civil arrest warrant (pdf)
Town Hall meeting• Town Hall chat wrap: Chadiha
Previous columns/analysis• Munson: Q&A on Vick reporting to prison early
• Munson: Looking at Judge Hudson
• Vick's high school learning lessons
• Bryant: Confounded by race issue
• Munson: Q&A about local indictment
• Munson: Next focus for Vick is length of sentence
• Schlabach: Vick an afterthought on VT campus
• Chadiha: Vick not running from truth
• Hill: Coverage means bigger issues ignored
• Wojciechowski: Pay attention to the fallen star
• Bryant: Vick's plea deal comes with baggage
• Bryant: In failing Vick, NFLPA fails itself
• Munson: Vick plea means surrender
• Forde: Vick's epic fall
• Pasquarelli: Major blow for Falcons
• Chadiha: Lots of lessons to be learned
• Wojciechowski: Punishment with teeth
• Easterbrook: Little sympathy?
• Clayton: Vick's NFL future might be bleak
• E-Ticket: A history of mistrust
• Chadiha: Vick's bad choices