According to the always reliable ESPN, Michael Vick might soon be on paid leave from the Falcons. This makes so much sense that I'm afraid it won't happen. The team gets rid of Vick without the NFLPA freaking out and can still attempt to recoup some bonus money, while keeping him on the roster if he's not convicted. In return, Vick gets to stay far, far away from the team and allow them to go about their business. It's less trouble than a straight-up suspension, and also relieves pressure on the league if the team asks him to leave for the year.
The hitch, you ask? Well, Vick has to agree to do it. I don't like to question where a man's priorities lie, but if he won't take the money and run for the good of the team...well, that's a pretty selfish move. He has single-handedly put the owner who pays him and the team that plays him in an untenable public relations position. If he believes in preparing for his own trial and letting the team play without distractions, he will absolutely take this opportunity. If he's really a team player, he'll also kidnap Joey Harrington on the way out. That'd be a nice gesture.
It's pretty clear that however this shakes out, it's going to go down before training camp starts. To wit:
And by one way or the other, I assume you mean one way. The cover of the whole Vick issue has been superb over at the AJC, and the common thread running through all of it is how impossible this situation is for the Falcons to extract themselves from. Given that a paid leave of absence satisfies most of the middle ground (and let's face it, nothing short of a Stan-style banishment is going to satisfy PETA), I think it's by far the most sensible course of action. Whether the team and the league can exert enormous pressure to get Vick to take it is another matter, but I guess he doesn't really have a lot of choice in the matter.
Do any of you think there's a better option?