Thoughts on Ryan and Vick

It is being widely speculated that the Atlanta Falcons' decision to select quarterback Matt Ryan of Boston College with the third overall pick in the NFL draft Saturday means that the organization has, in effect, severed its ties with suspended and imprisoned quarterback Michael Vick.


Well, maybe.

Or maybe not.

Certainly the Falcons hope that Ryan becomes their franchise quarterback. He has a chance to ascend to the starting job next season as a rookie, and the Falcons are crossing their fingers that he'll keep the job for a decade or more because that would mean he would have become the player that club officials hope and believe he can become. If that happens, there will be little or no reason for the Falcons to bring back Vick when his 23-month federal prison sentence for his role in a dogfighting operation in Virginia is finished and his indefinite suspension from the NFL is ended by Commissioner Roger Goodell.

But declaring Vick's tenure with the Falcons definitively over now might be premature.

Ryan threw 19 interceptions last season at Boston College, and the sport only gets faster and more complex for him now at the next level. Other teams were wary of drafting him because of that interception total. The Miami Dolphins, who had the top overall selection in the draft, lack an established quarterback, yet they chose Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long. The Dolphins didn't even appear to give particularly serious consideration to choosing Ryan.

One needs to look no further than Ryan's new teammate in Atlanta, Joey Harrington, to remember that a quarterback picked third overall in the NFL draft doesn't always become a star.

And if Ryan fails, the Falcons would be right back where they started--without a quarterback and wondering what to do about Vick when and if he ever is close to returning to football. No one can know for sure when that might be. State charges against him still are pending. Goodell has given no indication how long Vick's suspension might last.

Some have speculated that Vick might never play in the NFL again. It says here that it's too soon to know. The American public tends to forgive over time. If Vick takes the right approach to seeking the fans' forgiveness, the public perception of him just might soften to the point that some team might feel it can give him another chance.

Maybe that team even could be the Falcons, to whom Vick remains under contract.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank has said it's possible that Vick could return to the team someday. He also has said that the Falcons must go about their planning as if they never will have Vick back. That's what the Falcons did by drafting Ryan.

Perhaps the selection of Ryan means that Vick never will play for the Falcons again. Perhaps it doesn't.

That's now, at least in part, up to Ryan and how he plays.

By Mark Maske |  April 30, 2008; 4:23 PM ET  | Category:  Falcons
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It should be mentioned in the article that there is a legal case pending between the Falcons and Vick over the recovery of his bonuses. For this reason he has not been cut from the team. He must remain on the roster for recovery of the 16+ million dollars to even be considered. I don't believe Blank has said it's possible Vick will play for Atlanta again - NFL maybe. But again, he can't declare "we're going to cut him" and still try to recover the bonus money from the contract which Vick signed AFTER he had begun financing dog fighting, rendering the contract breeched at the time it was executed.

It is a sad situation for Vick and his Fans, and hopefully the ordeal has helped to educate everyone involved.

The Falcons are moving on in a VERY positive direction, based on the character and true leadership exemplified in this draft class, capped by Ryan!

Posted by: B. Chestnut | April 30, 2008 6:21 PM

Yes, there is a bonus recovery case, which has been covered in great detail on this blog. But that doesn't preclude Vick from returning to the team. And yes, Blank has said no decision has been made about whether Vick will return to the team.

Posted by: Mark Maske | April 30, 2008 10:03 PM

So, we can still visualize Vick running by the Dog Pound in Cleveland?

That will might the highlight tapes, for sure.

18-1 means you lose!

Posted by: BiggiesFan | May 1, 2008 7:11 AM

Excellent Article,

I think this is widely speculated amoungst Falcons fans, Arthur Blanks has mentioned he and Vick write each other and that Vick has stayed in Shape and is playing prision football.

The team is wise to move on, however if the oppoturnity presents itself it would be very tough for Blanks not to bring Vick back...especially with sagging ticket sales and the enormous African American client base in Atlanta.

Posted by: Andrew | May 1, 2008 11:23 AM

One other factor remains in the mix. Vick still faces state charges in Virginia.

Posted by: Guy King | May 1, 2008 11:54 AM

I agree with Andrew, Mikael Vick will be back and play for the falcons again. Since losing him the Falcons have gone a horrible 7-24. Atlanta made a bad choice drafting Matt Ryan with thier first pick. They should have gone with Dorsey and with thier second pick choose Chad Henne. I think that would have been a much better choice. I don't see Matt Ryan bringing the team back up at all. He is not going to be as good as everyone thinks he will. I know what Vick did was an awful decision but I am still a fan of his and can't wait to see him play again.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 1, 2008 12:19 PM

There is no way that Blank nor the Falcons would ever have Vick back on the team. Do you think Blank, who is obviously working hard to make the team something that is family-friendly and community-supported, would risk that by allowing Vick back in uniform? No way. In addition, there is only a slim chance that Vick will have the ability to play pro level ball when he is released. The risk and potential downsideare too great. The drafting of Ryan is a clear sign that Vick will never, ever be a Falcon again. Blank is a business man, first and foremost, and he lost a great deal of money on Vick. Do you really think he would jeopardize his investment in the Falcons by bringing him on board again? Really?

Posted by: Richard F. | May 1, 2008 2:01 PM

NO WAY Vick ever plays in a Falcon uniform will NEVER happen. He lied to Blank's face, cost him MILLIONS of dollars and never put in ANY extra effort to be the leader of a team. The ONLY reason this is not publicized is because of the bonus money and the court case.

Posted by: DS | May 1, 2008 3:01 PM

He's played his last game as a NFL QB.

Posted by: Giants Fan | May 1, 2008 10:20 PM

Karma has a way of and coming back and slapping you in the face. Of course Vick's off field decisions were tragic. However, Arthur Blank should not have made a public comment about one man not making a team, during his press conference last year after the Vick charges were brewing. I realize that his emotions got the best of him, but one must be mindful of what they say in public. The Falcons were all about Vick. There is an elephant in the room and everybody keeps ignoring it because it hurts. Vick's QB presence on the Falcons brought in mega-millions and impacted not only the Falcons but also the NFL's profits. That's why Goodell and Blank went into orbit about the situation. It's all about money. To go after this young man's guaranteed bonus money is very nasty and it sets a bad precedent in the NFL. That's why Blanks' organization is in the shape that it's in and will be if they themselves are not contrite. And upon Vick's release, if Goodell continues with any further punishment, it will get worse for the NFL. It's all Karma baby.

Posted by: FalconsFan | May 2, 2008 11:23 AM

How is it that all of you experts are just so very sure that Matt Ryan is going to be a bust. Also, the chance of Mike Vick returning to the Falcons is about the same as his chance of winning the Nobel Prize this year. You are probably the same experts that predicted that the Atlanta Hawks could not win a single game against the Boston Celtics. I have a strong feeling that Matt Ryan is going to prove to be much less inept at his new job than you are at yours.

Posted by: TheAntiMe | May 4, 2008 5:57 AM


Vick will have a very good chance at the Nobel Prize after Al Gore tells everybody that Pit Bull dog farts are a major cause of global warming.

That's what we call a very inconvenient truth - about as truthful as everything else in Al's movie too.

Posted by: BiggiesFan | May 5, 2008 9:04 AM

What a bunch of hypocrites!! You jizzholes in the media are so full of crap and the so-called 'fans' are no better forgiving my ass!! Right only if YOU ARE WHITE and your name is Marv Albert or Mark Chmura or Barrett Robbins or Jeff Reardon or Patrick Roy or Marty Mcsorley or Bill Romanowski or Christian Peter or Jim Leyritz. Funny how the media is NEVER as quick to talk about or condemn THOSE creeps and lowlifes maybe not funny but typical of the biased racist media and equally biased and racist public.

Posted by: lisalee | May 6, 2008 8:25 PM

1. Vick won't be a Falcon because he got millions, was the marketing focus of the team, lacked the dedication to study, and then lied to Blank. He will likely play in the NFL however if he maintains his skill because he was exciting to watch. He'd also make a good receiver.

2. In defense of Vick, he had terrible protection. He'd drop back and I'd count to 3 and he'd be under pressure; with Tom Brady, I'd count to 5 and no one would be nearby (until the Giants game).

3. Matt Ryan was a good pick because he can become a team leader, which the Falcons need, and has the skill to be at least good and will work hard. However, unless the team builds O/D Lines, they can't go anywhere.

Posted by: Chickasaw stadium alum | May 8, 2008 12:24 AM

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