Players express support for Vick's potential comeback to NFL

If Michael Vick is seeking support for an NFL comeback, he would get it from many of his former peers.

NFL players east, west and in between expressed encouragement for the suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback on the day that he was released from a federal prison.

Before he could join another team -- the Falcons still own his rights but have said he will not return to them -- Vick must be reinstated by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Vick and Goodell won't meet before the quarterback has served the home-confinement portion of his sentence, which ends July 20.

But when Vick becomes available, many players believe he deserves another chance.

"It would really be a disgrace to football to not give him an opportunity," Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Michael Clayton said. "A lot of people go in and come out a different person. I can't wait to see him get that opportunity again."

Added Minnesota Vikings All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson: "I really think everyone deserves a second chance. I think he has paid his debt to society. Hopefully, someone will reach out and give him another opportunity."

Vick's former backup in Atlanta, Matt Schaub, expects that to happen.

"At some point -- there's this year and next year -- I think he'll get an opportunity to play again," said Schaub, who's now the starting quarterback for the Houston Texans. "I wish him well. I'd like to see him come back and be successful.

"I think he can (regain his old form). He loves the game, and I know he loved playing. He had all that taken away. He's got to be eager to get back out and show people not only that he can still play, but that he's a changed man and a changed person."

Buffalo Bills safety George Wilson, the team's player representative to the NFL Players Association, likes the idea of Vick going back to work away from football first. Vick will serve three years' probation after his home confinement ends.

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"He's going back working a construction job getting paid $10 an hour, so that's considerably less than what he was making on the football field," Wilson said. "So I think just by showing he can work from the bottom up and show his commitment off the field and showing how much he's grown from this situation that he's more than deserving of a second opportunity."

Many teams refused to comment on having any interest in Vick, in part because he's still under contract with the Falcons.

A Kansas City Chiefs spokesman said, "The Chiefs have no comment regarding Michael Vick. They haven't given any thought to it. They don't want to be involved in any conversation about Michael Vick."

And a Miami Dolphins spokesman said, "No, we're not going there," when asked if general manager Jeff Ireland would be available to talk about Vick.

So the players did the talking, with a positive outlook -- none more positive than San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Josh Morgan, who, like Vick, is a former Virginia Tech star.

"Me and some of my teammates from Virginia Tech, we were talking about if we ever saw Vick back on the field, we might start crying," Morgan said. "Just thinking about him and his family and his mom and everything they've been through, that might bring me to tears. It would just be special, and we can't wait for him.

"I know he was just driving across the country, like 18 hours, and now he's at home in Hampton, and I bet he's telling people, 'This is how it's going to be. This is how I'm going to live my life in a different way.' He's going to be an elite player right away. I can't wait to see it, man."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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