October 18, 2010
On Sunday, Vick arrived at Lincoln Financial Field at 12:15 p.m. ET, 45 minutes before the scheduled kickoff of the game. Reid says he gave Vick permission to show up at that time, but didn't specify why. Because he was the emergency quarterback, Vick didn't suit up or take part in pregame workouts, presumably to rest his injured ribs. It was also determined that Vick wouldn't join his teammates on the sideline during the game, as many injured players do, and would instead watch from the locker room.
Sounds pretty innocuous, right? Yet there are reports that Vick didn't show up until five minutes before game time and that he left Falcons owner Arthur Blank waiting for him by the locker-room door (the two eventually met later in the tunnel). People also want to know why Vick didn't go to the sidelines. Was it to avoid jeering fans of his former team, to escape the eye of the television cameras or to keep the pressure off Kevin Kolb(notes)? And, most of all, why did Andy Reid refuse to talk about it at length with the press?
[Photos: See more moments with Michael Vick]
If usual emergency quarterback Mike Kafka(notes) were allowed to show up late and stay in the locker room, this wouldn't be a big deal. But this is Michael Vick. Everything he does is magnified and Andy Reid should know this. By giving off the appearance that Vick is getting special treatment, Reid screwed up just like he does with his late-game timeouts. It doesn't matter that it doesn't matter where Vick watched the game, it matters that Reid let it become an issue.
[Dramatic day: Football champ drives off a cliff after being arrested]
Refusing to discuss the issue only made it bigger. There's no mystery in the story if Reid comes out and says why Vick came late and why he wasn't on the field. The quarterback has been the model of behavior this regular season. To run the risk of changing the discussion just so Vick could show up late was a foolish move by Reid. And by dodging the questions, the coach opens up the door to even more speculation.
It's all about controlling the story. Reid let this one get away from him.
[Related: NFL's mysterious X-ray room]
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