Michael Vick: 'I would love to get another dog in the future'

Michael Vick(notes) wants another dog. He told this to NBC News in an interview set to air Wednesday:

"I would love to get another dog in the future. I think it would be a big step for me in the rehabilitation process.

"I think just to have a pet in my household and to show people that I genuinely care, and my love and my passion for animals; I think it would be outstanding. If I ever have the opportunity again I will never take it for granted. I miss having a dog right now. I wish I could. My daughters miss having one, and that's the hardest thing: telling them that we can't have one because of my actions."

Too soon, Michael. Too soon.

I don't think Vick would harm a dog if he got one. In time, it might make sense for him to own a dog. Then he can show people he's changed and pose with it on magazine covers and go on Oprah cradling it in his arms. There's a time for that. But it isn't now.

It's still all too fresh. Vick has thus far done a wonderful job of speaking out against dogfighting in a way that seems genuine. Without much media fanfare, he speaks to youth groups without a court order making him or cameras following him. You get the impression it's not being done for attention.

But his past is still his past, and much of the public hasn't forgotten about it. Vick's play this year has gone a long way to making the dogfighting a distant memory. His bringing it up changes all of that.

[Related: Vick is finding support all over the place]

The people who have never cared about his off-field transgressions won't care what Vick said. However, there are plenty of people who cautiously root for Vick, cheering him because of his athletic abilities but still feeling a little apprehensive about rooting on a man who systematically murdered animals and went to jail for it. Those folks were on the verge of coming around on him. If they ignored it enough and didn't have to be reminded of Vick's Bad Newz Kennels, they could cheer him on with a clear conscience. Out of sight, out of mind. Vick just brought it back in sight.

[Related: Despite success on field, Vick still faces massive debt]

Against my better judgment and years of proof to the contrary, I believe Vick has changed. This interview doesn't alter that opinion, but it makes me wonder how much the quarterback is letting all the fawning over him these past three months go to his head. He thinks he deserves a dog. He thinks that serving jail time and being sorry means he should get one. It doesn't. Not yet, anyway. (Not that he'd be allowed to. Vick is under a court order not to own any pets. He doesn't know when, if ever, that will be lifted. "It's up to my judge at his discretion.")

[Rewind: Philadelphia newspaper's controversial Vick headline]

Vick doesn't have "love and passion" for dogs. No matter what you think about him or the fairness of his jail sentence or how he was treated or how great he is on the field, what Vick did was disgusting. He didn't love animals, and if he showed any passion toward them, it was rage, not ardor.

You were doing so well, Michael. The dogfighting memories were getting smaller and smaller in the rearview mirror and you've been becoming more renowned for your greatness rather than your brutality. Keep it that way. Leave the dogs to the folks who actually love them.

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