The League

Anthony Stalter
National Blogger

Anthony Stalter

Senior Sports Editor for The Scores Report

Skills in decline

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There's no law against celebrating your birthday by having a party at a club. There's also not much you can do when an unwanted guest crashes the scene and then gets shot sometime after you leave either.

The details of what happened the night Quanis Phillips, a co-defendant in Michael Vick's dog fighting case, was shot outside the club that hosted the quarterback's 30th birthday party are a little sketchy. Witnesses claim that once Michael and his brother Marcus Vick saw that Phillips was at the party, they asked him to leave. Phillips then smashed cake in Michael's face, left the party screaming obscenities and then was shot in the leg outside the club sometime thereafter.

It was a good sign for Vick that police wanted nothing to do with him in regards to the shooting. They quickly declared that he wasn't a person of interest and Falcons receiver Roddy White (who apparently attended the party) also publicly supported Vick's claim that he had nothing to do with the shooting by telling the media that they had left the party well before Phillips took a bullet in the leg.

I can only speculate because Vick didn't invite me to the party (I can only imagine the reason was because my invite got lost in the mail), but it sounds as if he actually did the right thing here. He noticed that Phillips was at the party and knew that he could get into trouble with the NFL if he was seen socializing with somebody from his dog fighting days, so Phillips was bounced. And if Vick didn't react to getting a face full of cake by doing something stupid, then he deserves kudos for keeping a cool head. That doesn't mean he didn't know the shooter (the shooting did occur right outside the club), but he could have been completely oblivious to what eventually transpired.

That said, it's still disturbing that his name is in the headlines for another serious crime and the situation may have reaffirmed to general managers across the league that Vick should be avoided at all costs. Of course, that's not why he'll find it incredibly hard to find a starting job in the NFL from here on out.

Pacman Jones carries a rap sheet that would make Lawrence Taylor blush, yet he once again found his way onto a NFL roster. That's because at 26, teams believe Jones can still play and therefore, he's worth the risk.

They don't think the same about Vick, however.

Think I'm crazy? If teams thought he could be even a Junior Mint-sized version of the old Michael Vick, then why didn't the Rams, Browns or Bills take a flier on him this offseason? The answer is that his skills have simply eroded over the years.

The Rams' general manager is Billy Devaney, who worked in the Falcons' front office when Vick was dazzling a packed Georgia Dome crowd with his electrifying runs. He had nothing but good things to say about Vick this offseason, yet he passed on trading for the Eagles' backup and the Rams eventually drafted Sam Bradford with the top overall pick in April.

The Browns' new general manager is Tom Heckert Jr., who came from Philadelphia and had the opportunity to watch Vick on a daily basis both on and off the field. If Heckert knew Vick could still play, then I highly doubt Cleveland would be heading into the season hoping that Jake Delhomme won't be the complete and utter disaster that he was in Carolina over the past couple of years.

In Buffalo, the Bills proved that they would rather take their chances with Trent Edwards, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brian Brohm at the helm than go with Vick, even though Chan Gailey (who knows how to work with mobile quarterbacks) is their head coach.

Granted, the Eagles did set the price too high for Vick earlier this offseason when they foolishly demanded a second round pick in exchange for him. But they eventually lowered their asking price and still no one bit. If teams believed that he could still be a starter, then he would be a starter. But he used to be an inaccurate passer with superhuman-like running abilities. Now he's just an inaccurate passer who is semi-fast, which doesn't bode well for someone that eventually wants to be a starting quarterback again.

The fact that he's being investigated for a shooting doesn't help his cause, but it's not Vick's character that is currently keeping him from starting again in the NFL. It's his skills, which is ironic considering they were once what made him the No. 1 overall pick in the league.

By Anthony Stalter  |  June 29, 2010; 12:00 AM ET  | Category:  Crime , Michael Vick , NFL Rules , Philadelphia Eagles , Quarterbacks Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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