*For better or worse, Michael Vick’s reputation precedes him.
After pleading guilty to dog fighting charges in April 2001 and serving 23 months in federal prison, Vick’s past has played a role in his professional career as he lost millions of dollars in endorsement deals and learned to play second fiddle to players in Philadelphia.
Add to that the respect and admiration of fans and it’s been a tough road for Vick, who signed a one-year $5 million contract during free agency with the NY Jets last week. The main question fans have is whether or not Vick can successfully mentor the team’s young starter Geno Smith with such a checkered past and questionable character traits.
On the plus side, nyj.scout.com managing editor Rick Laughland noted Vick’s maturity in not forcing his way out of Philly while accepting the role of back up quarterback last season. Still, a player of Vick’s caliber may not be content with riding the bench for another season.
No doubt. The Jets’ head coach head coach Rex Ryan and general manager John Idzik have their work cut out for them. Are they willing to make Vick the face of the Jets, Laughland asks as he notes how Vick excels professionally, but personally has had is character and integrity questioned amid serving time for his dogfighting scandal.
“The NFL is chock full of questionable characters, but where do Jets fans draw a line in the sand?,” said Laughland. “If Vick upstages Smith in their training camp battle this summer as many expect, fans may finally get what they’ve been longing for–a bona fide quarterback–but it will come at a hefty price. It’s already proving difficult for many loyal Jets fans to root for a player with more ghosts in his closet than playoff wins in his pocket.”
Stay tuned to see where the Jets ultimately go. No matter what, it looks to be an interesting time for the team.