Posted by Ryan Wilson
On Wednesday, GQ previewed their feature on Michael Vick, which included a quote from the Eagles quarterback that suggested NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell steered him towards Philadelphia.
"I think I can say this now, because it's not going to hurt anybody's feelings, and it's the truth," Vick told GQ author Will Leitch. "I didn't want to come to Philadelphia. Being the third-team quarterback is nothing to smile about. Cincinnati and Buffalo were better options." Leith wrote that those two teams wanted him and would've allowed him to start, but after meeting with commissioner Roger Goodell and other reps from the NFL, Vick was convinced — and granted league approval — to sign with Philly. "And I commend and thank them, because they put me in the right situation."
By Thursday afternoon, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello had sent a series of tweets refuting Vick's recounting of events.
"On the Michael Vick story: His decision on where to play to put himself in the best position to succeed was entirely his own... Commissioner Goodell obviously met & spoke to Michael and his reps as part of his decision on whether to reinstate him & on what terms... But the commissioner would never steer players to or away from particular teams and did not do so in this case."
The full GQ interview went live Thursday morning, and by midday, Vick was backtracking from his comments. He released the following statement through the Eagles website:
"I felt it was necessary to put out a statement today clarifying the article in GQ Magazine. I did speak with many people, but the decision to sign in Philadelphia was based on my discussions with my agent, my family and with Coach Reid. And after those discussions, it became clear to me that this was the place I wanted to play and resume my NFL career. The Commissioner never told me to sign or not sign with particular teams. Again, I want to make it perfectly clear that this was a decision I made and, as I have said numerous times before, I’m very happy with the way it has worked out for me and my family."
Make of this what you will.
As ESPN's Adam Schefter tweeted Thursday after Vick's statement, "Does anyone really believe if Buffalo or Cincinnati offered Mike Vick more money than Philly, he wouldn't have gone there?" Good question, especially if one or both of those teams were willing to make Vick the starter.
CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman doesn't buy Vick's revised story, either.
Just remember: Goodell is the same guy NFL players decided to keep as judge, jury and executioner on all matters of punishment in the new collective bargaining agreement. Truthfully, is anyone shocked that a billion-dollar corporation would go into damage-control mode after such a revelation? Especially when the man in charge is as powerful as he's ever been?
In related news, we're expecting Vick to stick to his original story that the struggles at the end of his Falcons career rest solely with the coaching staff's inability to correctly assess his talents.
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