Michael Vick lives in a prison in Kansas, making 12 cents an hour while plotting his return to the NFL. His houses and farms will soon be gone, the two yachts are history, and he’s down to his last couple of Range Rovers.
A race horse he bought for $60,000 died of colic, the Atlanta Falcons are still trying to hit him up for millions they paid him, and the IRS and the state of Georgia want nearly $1 million in back taxes.
In 2006 he made nearly $15 million. Recently he reported total income of $12.89 for an entire month.
That’s $12.89 as in 12 dollars and 89 cents. This from someone who, before things went terribly bad, categorized a $1,000 check to his mother as “chump change.”
The numbers are cold, but they have to warm the heart of any animal lover sickened by what once went on at Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels. To many, seeing Vick stripped of the material things he and his fellow millionaire athletes like to enjoy is almost as good as watching him go to prison in the first place.
Best of all, the dogs who survived the terror of Vick’s dogfighting ring are having the last laugh.
They’re the stars of a recent National Geographic Channel television special. They live in comfort in a Utah ranch, thanks to $928,000 Vick agreed to contribute to finance their care.
And now they have their own wine.
Yes, there’s Meryl, looking anything but ferocious on a bottle of Syrah. And there’s Lewis, peeking out from the front of another Vicktory Dog bottle.
Buried in the hundreds of pages of paper detailing Vick’s financial woes the other day in federal bankruptcy court was the declaration that not only does Vick expect to be reinstated in the NFL upon his release but also believes he will “be able to earn a substantial living” playing quarterback once again.
Good luck with that.
Just what team he believes will employ him to do so wasn’t mentioned, but the Falcons are surely out. They severed their ties with the quarterback they once were sure would lead them to a Super Bowl.
Vick is supposed to be released July 20, so he could be out just in time for the opening of preseason camps. But how many teams are so desperate for a quarterback that they would risk the ire of PETA-types and other animal activists to sign an ex-con who admitted to doing some heinous things?
The other question is how much would they risk for a quarterback who has a career passing rating of 75.7, fumbles the ball once every 10 times he carries it, and hasn’t played a down in two years. Quarterbacks who could run were once the rage in the NFL, but most teams today look for the traditional pocket passer.
If a team did take a chance on Vick, it would likely be for little or no guaranteed money with incentives kicking in only if he produces — something that can never be certain in the NFL, where injuries and age can quickly take their toll.
A comeback is still possible, but my guess is that this story will not end well. Upon his release from prison, the odds are Vick will spend more time dodging creditors than defensive linemen.
The dogs are a different story. Those that survived will live in comfort the rest of their lives.
And for that, we should all raise a glass of Lewis red in celebration.