Ever since Michael Vick’s legal troubles began he has been a controversial figure.
The fact that the star quarterback was once the NFL’s highest paid player was one problem area for casual onlookers. The other issue is he went to jail for illegal dog-fighting.
Now training camps for pro teams are set to begin this weekend and Vick is in the spotlight. This time he’s out of jail and ready to play in the league once again.
Vick was conditionally re-instated to the league this week by Commissioner Roger Goodell. However Vick, who at this point is struggling to get interest from an NFL team, can’t play a down until the sixth week of the season.
Many around the world will undoubtedly have a negative opinion of the former star. However, here in Cayman, those feelings are not widespread.
A lot of people are prepared to focus more on his on-field persona rather than his off-field mishaps, especially those in the flag football community.
Among Cayman’s NFL fans who apply their time and energy into being a weekend warrior is Caymanian Sean Moyle.
Moyle is a multi-dimensional player for the Doghouse Bulldogs. In the past Moyle has served as the team’s quarterback. However he is best known for his running ability and footwork as a receiver.
Moyle has been part of the Doghouse team for over two years now and seen the club be a perennial force in the league. Last season the club lost in the league final and before that the club had one of the three best regular season records.
In his eyes Vick is someone to be admired on the football field.
‘As a player I believe Michael Vick has awesome physical talent and would be a force to be reckoned with in most positions on the football field.’
In addition Moyle feels Vick’s return to the league can only be a positive.
‘I think it will be a good thing in the long run for the NFL to get Michael Vick back as long as he can straighten out his life and learn to make better decisions off the field.
‘Any NFL team will benefit from having a talented football player as he is on their roster. Whether it be through completing passes come game-time or mentoring a young quarterback on the sideline, Vick is a good team player to have.’
Another notable person in local flag football who supports Vick’s return is Colin Wilson.
Wilson, a proud Canadian, is a quarterback for the Maples team. His squad is one of the more athletic sides in the sport, boasting players with extensive sports backgrounds. Though their record has not been good in previous years this season the club seems primed to make a great turnaround.
For Wilson Vick’s return breeds excitement.
‘I can’t wait for him to come back. I’m sure he’s in good shape from training in prison. He was one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Once he gets going in the league he’ll be fine.
‘To me he did his time and he’s going to have to do a lot of public relations work to turn things around. It’s parties outside the NFL like People Against the unethical treatment of Animals who won’t support him.
‘But people forget. He won’t lose any football fans and he’ll be alright.’
The former Atlanta Falcon was a premiere quarterback in the NFL. He was the league’s highest paid player in history with his 10 year, $130 million dollar deal. Vick guided his team deep into the playoffs in 2002 and 2004 losing to the Philadelphia Eagles both times.
Moreover he posted great statistics and set many NFL records that show he could hurt teams with his arm and his legs. Arguably one of his biggest achievements was becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to rush for a 1,000 yards in a season back in 2006.
His performances inspired many to play the game like him. In Cayman some, like Moyle, point to the star quarterback of last year’s champion team the Caybrew Farm Soldiers as a replica of Vick.
‘When it comes to playing styles of QBs in the Cayman Islands Flag Football Association I would have to go with my main man Luigi Moxam. Luigi is an amazing passer and also known to run a few in for touchdowns.’
In regards to this season Moyle feels Vick can be a good fit with the Minnesota Vikings.
‘I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that if Brett Favre does not sign with the Minnesota Vikings, that organization would greatly benefit with one more speedster in the backfield along with Adrian Peterson.’
Wilson on the other hand is more sceptical of Vick’s chances with another team.
‘Hopefully he gets on the field this season. Some 12-15 teams have already come out and said they won’t take him. It’s hard to say at this point who he could or should play for.
‘He has the skill, it’s just a matter of fitness. He can certainly come in as a back-up QB somewhere; say a second- or third-stringer.’
Both players agree that Vick’s impact on the league will come in time.
‘He just has to change his persona to that of a role-model,’ Wilson said. ‘He might make $700,000 this year, which is down from the $800,000 he used to make per game but there’s still time for him to join another league.’
‘I believe in his first year back his impact will be minimal,’ Moyle said. ‘But given a little time to get back into football mode, he will soon return to being one of the top QBs in the NFL. Michael Vick has paid his debt to society as a private citizen therefore he should be allowed back into the NFL without too much public scrutiny.’