Dungy: Signing could come this week
Michael Vick's personal adviser and his agent believe his return to the NFL is now not a question of "if," but "when" -- and that "when" may come soon.
Former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, who is helping Vick steer a course from his release from federal prison back to the NFL, said Tuesday on ESPN Radio's "Mike and Mike in the Morning" that he believes "something's gonna happen this week" with the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback.
And Vick's agent, Joel Segal, said Tuesday "there are a lot of teams interested" in signing his client.
Dungy, who has been serving as Vick's adviser since the end of Vick's sentence last month, told "Mike and Mike" he has fielded phone calls from a number of interested coaches. Dungy said he has recommended Vick, describing him as "a better person and very determined to come back and do well." He also said Vick has been calling to get Dungy's feedback on potential suitors.
"Michael bounced teams off me -- 'hey, these people called, what do you think?'" Dungy said. "I think something's gonna happen this week."
Segal visited Washington Redskins training camp Tuesday, but he insisted the trip was not Vick-related. He told ESPN 980 Radio that he was checking in on some of his Redskins clients, including Jason Campbell, DeAngelo Hall and LaRon Landry.
Segal said there's "no chance" his client will sign with the Redskins. But he also said he was optimistic that Vick would get a job soon, calling it "not a matter of if, but when." Ozzie Newsome, general manager of the Baltimore Ravens, echoed Segal's feelings from his team's camp, telling ESPN's Sal Paolantonio he believed Vick would sign soon with a team.
Vick was conditionally reinstated by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell last month after the former Falcons quarterback completed a 23-month sentence for running a dogfighting ring.
Dungy and Segal's statements follow a report in The Washington Post that at least five NFL teams have quietly shown interest in signing Vick, citing several people familiar with the deliberations.
"I don't know where he's gonna end up ... I can't tell you which teams, but I know there's at least five," a person familiar with the situation said on condition of anonymity, the newspaper reported.
On Sunday, Dungy told a national TV audience watching the Hall of Fame Game that "I've talked to quite a few coaches who want to get my thoughts on where [Vick] is." Tuesday on "Mike and Mike in the Morning," Dungy elaborated, explaining that he'd been fielding Vick inquiries from his former coaching colleagues since he, at Goodell's request, became Vick's mentor.
"A lot of people then began to call me. And I got calls from a lot of coaches, and most of the coaches said, 'Hey, tell me about it, if I wanted to sign this guy, I would want to look in his eyes and find out if anything's different -- give me that feel,'" Dungy told "Mike and Mike."
"And I did I recommend [Vick] to maybe a dozen guys," Dungy added. "I think he has changed as a person. I think he recognizes what he did and the lifestyle that he had wasn't conducive to not only playing well, but it was detrimental to a lot of young people. I think he had about 18 months to think about that." Dungy told "Mike and Mike" the terms of Vick's conditional reinstatement could help him get on a team right away but allow him to work his way back from two years away from the game.
Vick, a free agent, is free to join a team for training camp and practices. Once the season begins, Vick may participate in all team activities except games, and Goodell said he would consider Vick for full reinstatement by Week 6 (Oct. 18-19) at the latest.
Dungy also told "Mike and Mike" that the right team environment would do Vick a world of good.
"From a personal standpoint I think the thing he needs is to get with a football family," Dungy said. "And the quicker he can do that, the better. That's why I'm hoping it works that somebody signs him, gets him involved in their program, gets their good players, good people around him, gets their support staff around him.
"That, to me, is gonna be the most beneficial thing to him, to get somewhere and say 'This is my group now that I'm depending on and I know they're depending on me,'" he said.
Meanwhile, Vick told basketball campers at Hampton University on Tuesday to use his own story as an example as they work to follow their dreams.
Vick told a crowd of about 250 to "use me as an example for your dreams." Vick also told them that after accomplishing his goals he "allowed someone who didn't have my best interests at heart to take all that away from me," according to a release from the school.
"Respect helps you to make wise decisions," Vick said.
Vick was a surprise guest at the camp run by Pirates interim men's basketball coach Ed Joyner Jr., according to the university.
Vick will be the subject of a CBS "60 Minutes" interview segment Sunday at 7 p.m. ET.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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VICK CONDITIONALLY REINSTATED
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