The League

Jason Maloni
Crisis Communications Expert

Jason Maloni

Senior Vice President with
Levick Strategic Communications
and Chair of the firm's Sports & Entertainment Practice.

Makeover Time

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Mike Vick's first inclination might be to go to a team that is most likely to give him the best chance of starting immediately.

But he would be smarter to ease into the league. He should sign a short term contract with plenty of incentives, ideally with a very good team with a strong management structure, standout players and a great chance of being on the field in January. Miami and New England are good candidates and Vick would have a much better chance of thriving in these environments as a back-up or gadget player if he chooses. If he succeeds, he'll have a much stronger position when he renegotiates his contract.

If he is wise, he will listen - and be seen listening - to the advice of Dolphins VP of Operations Bill Parcells or Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick as well as his mentor Dan Reeves and his former coach at Virginia Tech Frank Beamer throughout the season. Wherever he ends up, he should bug his assistant coaches at all hours of the night with questions about the offense of divisional opponents. His off-field hours should be spent buried in a play-book, getting extra training in the weight room or devoted to a charity of his choosing. He will over prepare his mind and body so that when he gets the chance, he is in the best possible position to succeed.

He won't scream for more game time. He won't be a distraction in the locker room. He will avoid his old posse and stay away from those parts of Newport News, Norfolk and Virginia Beach where his old friends still call him "Okie." During his days with Atlanta, Vick was not known to be a gym rat. That has to change. In short, he will be a model player who recognizes that he has been given great gifts by God and a great second chance by Roger Goodell. He has to demonstrate for many haters that he understands this is a second chance and potentially the last opportunity to live up to his potential.

The Oakland Raiders are in need of a solid QB option but the erratic ownership of Al Davis and revolving door of coaches is exactly NOT what he needs. While Oakland is a possible home, it is not the best option and Vick will not have the strong personalities and structure he needs.

Like Irving Fryer, who put a checkered past littered with drug abuse and other charges behind him and became a productive player, so too can Vick.

Results can change a lot of opinions, but to get those results Vick should recognize that he needs structure more than he needs starts.

By Jason Maloni  |  July 27, 2009; 6:41 PM ET  | Category:  Atlanta Falcons , Crime , Michael Vick , Oakland Raiders , Roger Goodell Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Vick the Jag? | Next: A Vick-T.O. Hookup?

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