ATLANTA -- Tony Dungy believes in mentoring and says it puts people on the right path -- including his most famous pupil, Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick.
On a national tour to promote his new book on mentoring, Dungy told The Associated Press on Monday that Vick still has a lot to learn about his image.
Dungy says even if Vick isn't doing something illegal, he still can make better decisions to stay out of harm's way.
Vick hosted a birthday party that ended with a shooting June 25 in Virginia Beach, Va.
"The first thing people have to realize is that probation officers detail everything, and if he is off track even a little, they're going to come down," Dungy said. "They reviewed the situation that went on and moved forward. The NFL did and moved forward. Michael would like to have all the negative publicity back, but it really wasn't the type of thing that people have blown it into. But that's the lesson for him."
Vick is on probation after serving an 18-month federal prison sentence that ended in May 2009 for dogfighting.
According to police in Virginia Beach, Vick was not present when a person was shot. Vick's attorney, Larry Woodward, identified the victim as Quanis Phillips, a co-defendant in the dogfighting ring.
"Tony Dungy can go somewhere and if something happens, I'm not going to get singled out," Dungy said. "Michael Vick goes some place and the same thing happens, and you're the center of attention. You're the focus. Now is it fair? Who knows?
"But that's the bed you've made and you've got to sleep in it and be prepared for that. That's the lesson he's learned."
Dungy shares life lessons in his new book, The Mentor Leader. It went on sale last week, and Dungy spoke at the national offices of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in midtown Atlanta. He will also make stops during the promotional tour this week in Central and South Florida.
Dungy writes at length about his work with Vick.
"Whether Michael manages to regain the status he once had in the league is not nearly as important as the kind of man he becomes," Dungy said. That's what I wrote about him in the book."
During Vick's imprisonment in Leavenworth Kan., Dungy visited with the former Atlanta Falcons star. Since Vick's release in May 2009, Dungy has stayed in contact with him regularly and talks occasionally with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Eagles coach Andy Reid to ensure Vick is making good decisions off the field.
"He didn't do anything other than maybe put himself in a place where he shouldn't have been," Dungy said. "But people will look at that one incident and forget about the other 364 days and a lot of the good things that have gone on."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press