There could be some thawing on the Michael Vick front.
Vick’s agent said in a radio interview Tuesday that “a lot of teams” are interested in signing the onetime Atlanta Falcons star who has been out of football for two years, serving prison time for running a West Virginia dogfighting ring.
Agent Joel Segal told ESPN 980 radio in Washington, D.C., that he’s optimistic Vick will be back in football soon, saying it’s “not a matter of if, but when.”
Tony Dungy, the widely respected former coach and now mentor to the disgraced quarterback, has hinted broadly that an NFL team could sign Vick soon.
“I think something may happen here pretty shortly,” Dungy said Sunday during NBC’s broadcast of the Hall of Fame game.
What’s more, Vick spoke to a small group of at-risk youth over the weekend at a community center in Decatur, Ga., turning back all media except a crew from CBS’ “60 Minutes,” which will air an interview with him Sunday.
If there are teams interested in signing him -- and ready to withstand the public scorn that could bring -- they aren’t stepping forward to say. In fact, nearly all NFL franchises have said he doesn’t fit into their plans. Still, those plans can change, especially if injuries arise as the exhibition season begins.
San Diego Chargers General Manager A.J. Smith, who says his team is not vying for the services of Vick, recently told The Times: “Some head coaches and GMs would talk about it, but for what? I don’t know why you’d want to fool with it.”
However, Smith said it would actually be easier to squeeze Vick onto a roster than a player at another position, because on game day he could be designated the emergency third quarterback, who does not count as part of the 45-man roster on game day.
“You could put him in the third spot; it’s an open roster,” he said. “If you want to put another guy in another place, you’re cutting a guy. But because he’s a quarterback, if you want you could literally get rid of your third guy and give [Vick] your third spot, and you’ve still got one and two. And you’ve got a whole season to find out whether he’s in shape, whether he stays straight, whether he can come back, get his strength, get his legs.
“You’re really watching him. And you can implement a Wildcat package, see how that goes, and then get him ready for the following year.”