Vick Brush Up With The Law...Could Spell Garcia
By Lance Epstein
A week ago, Forbes Magazine released the results of a survey that had Eagles quarterback Michael Vick as the most despised athlete on the planet. Today, multiple reports have surfaced about details of Vick's birthday party extravaganza at a nightclub in Virginia Beach, VA on Thursday night. Normally, this would not be a pressing issue except a shooting took place outside that same nightclub as his party.
According to the Associated Press, one of Vick's lawyers, Larry Woodward, says the Eagles backup QB was neither involved nor present when the shooting occurred at 2 a.m. outside Club Guadalajara. Fortunately, the man who was shot did not suffer any life-threatening injuries.
Virginia Beach police spokesman Adam Bernstein also confirmed that Vick was "of no interest to us," while referring to the investigation.
However, Vick is on a very short-leash with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after his dog fighting scandal, which landed him in a federal prison. Last July, Goodell reiterated and made it widely known when reinstating Vick that his room for error is "extremely limited."
The shooting at Vick's 30th birthday bash is one just one issue, but there is even more bad news for the once heralded quarterback. News has also surfaced that he was still hanging out with the wrong crowd again. It has come to light that he was partying with a co-defendant in the 2007 federal dogfighting trial in Quanis Phillips [the man shot last night].
According to a source of David Squires of The Hampton Roads (Va.) Daily Press Urban Affairs, the incident began over a birthday cake being smashed or threatened to be smashed into the face of Vick or Phillips [which person it was is unknown]. Eventually the situation escalated and led to the eventual shooting in the shopping center parking lot. Still, police have said Vick was not at the scene of the crime when they arrived, but could have fled.
"It is unclear whether Vick was still around at the time of the shooting, but he was definitely not there when police arrived," Bernstein said.
Either way things could get really bad for Vick in a hurry. For a player that has made it known that he has turned over a new leaf and wants to be a dependable starter in the NFL again, this is not the way to go about it. If Goodell wants to lay down the law he could suspend Vick for the entire 2010 season or just a couple of games or let him off the hook completely.
Still, fans should not expect the commissioner to take this shooting lightly. Vick made a vow to change his lifestyle and become a better person. This promise meant not hanging out with criminals, drinking and finding himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Last year, Vick managed to be a model citizen and kept his nose clean. More impressively, he did not voice his displeasure about the lack of playing time.
Now, the Eagles might be looking at Vick not being apart of the 2010 squad. Andy Reid and general manager Howie Roseman certainly know that any value that Vick established by rededicating himself to the game this offseason is gone. Furthermore, if he cannot contribute as the Eagles main backup, there is a glaring hole if Kevin Kolb fails, struggles or gets injured.
One name that keeps popping up with the Eagles is former Eagle Jeff Garcia. The Eagles picked up Garcia, 40, for one game in 2009 after Donovan McNabb suffered a fractured rib. His return to the Eagles was short-lived as he was released after a one-game stint.
While Garcia is not the long-term solution as the backup quarterback for the Eagles, but he is capable of running the west coast offense very efficiently and at a high level. In his first stint with the Eagles in '07, he led the Eagles from a 5-6 to the NFC East crown and a playoff birth. Additionally, he put up nice numbers in eight starts [played half the game against the Titans when McNabb went down] with the Eagles including playoffs. Garcia threw for 1,702 yards, 12 touchdowns, two interceptions and had a 95 quarterback rating during the regular season.More importantly, he allows rookie fourth-round pick Mike Kafka to learn the offense at his own pace and not be thrown into the fire as the main backup to Kolb. Yet, this is still a massive blow to the Eagles if Vick is suspended for any amount of time. The Eagles were counting on him changing his life, helping them in the Wildcat offense and being a weapon in the red zone. After this shooting, the Eagles find themselves with egg on their face.