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Irreparable damage?

Vick permanently tarnished by slew of incidents

Posted: Monday May 14, 2007 4:38PM; Updated: Tuesday May 15, 2007 9:01AM
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Michael Vick
Michael Vick constantly finds himself in the middle of controversy.
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
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Falcons QB Michael Vick who increasingly seems as problematic off the field as he is on it seems to have found trouble once again. This time Vick is dogged by allegations that he was part of a dog-fighting ring operating out of a home he owned in Virginia. (We must say "owned" because once the dog-fighting rumors surfaced, Vick quickly sold the house for less than half of its assessed value. OK, so he's no Donald Trump.)

In just the last two years, Vick has made a run at Pacman Jones' off-field headline making supremacy by: being accused of giving a woman genital herpes and using the evocative alias "Ron Mexico" to receive his herpes medication in secret; flipping a double dirty bird to the home Atlanta fans after a Falcons loss; allegedly trying to pass through airport security while carrying a water bottle containing what the Miami police described as "a small amount of dark particulate and a pungent aroma closely associated with marijuana"; missing a chance to speak on Capitol Hill regarding after-school programs; and most recently, being suspected of having involvement in a dog-fighting ring at a home he owns in Virginia.

And it doesn't stop. It's reached the point now where the daily Falcons practice notes in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution are a mix of items about offensive adjustments, rookies adapting the NFL and former teammates allegedly saying that Vick is totally into dog fighting.

Vick is the highest-paid player in the NFL and perhaps the most exciting, too. But for everyone who hoped Vick would be the first guy in franchise history to lead the Falcons to back-to-back winning seasons, he's simply looked like a guy who might not be able to throw the ball accurately enough to win more NFL games than he loses.

Then there's those of us who saw in Vick a player we thought we could throw our complete emotional support behind. For many of us, Vick was our favorite NFL player, the guy we suspected had the ability to change the way the quarterback position would be played going forward.

It's probably not the best idea to idolize someone you'll never really get to know. I got lucky growing up. Even though I was living in Atlanta, somehow Phoenix Suns point guard Kevin Johnson caught my eye, and I spent the next few years trying to indulge in all things KJ. I purchased KJ jerseys and t-shirts via mail order, even managed to get a No. 7 practice jersey for my high school basketball team. KJ was never the most outspoken or flashy player in the NBA, but he was a solid, terrific point guard. (When he dunked all over Hakeem Olajuwon, I nearly jumped through my roof.)

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