Vick deserves second chance

Camps are starting to open around the NFL.

Rookies will get a quick reminder that life in the NFL is totally different than being the big man on campus in the world of college football.

Even some veterans will be fighting for their football lives in hopes of landing a roster spot.

Michael Vick might be back in an NFL camp, too.

Commissioner Roger Goodell has reinstated the former Falcon quarterback with conditions after Vick spent time in the federal pen for dog fighting.

Goodell made the right decision. Now, Vick has to convince a team he's worthy of a second chance.

That's right. Don't look for a typo here. Vick should be given the chance to make a living doing what he does best and that's play professional football.

Before PETA and other animal rights folks jump on me, I think what Michael Vick did was reprehensible. Dog fighting is a serious crime, and Vick deserved to go to jail.

Why he even got involved in such a heinous crime is beyond me. It wasn't about money, it was about being stupid.

Pure and simple, I'm a dog lover. Growing up my family had a French poodle we called Dutchess. We adopted her when I was four and we put her to sleep when I was a freshman in college.

So she basically grew up with me. I am grateful I had such a wonderful dog in my life.

My sister and brother-in-law are raising my niece and nephew with a loving dog named Jax.

Jax sheds and he barks sometimes when he gets nervous or startled. But Jax might be the most loving dog I have ever been around.

Jax craves a belly rub and to be scratched behind his ears. I couldn't imagine anybody abusing this beautiful creature.

Pets are gifts from God and should be treated that way. Sunday at church, my Pastor at Stockbridge United Methodist, Jim McRae talked about how he and his wife Lisa, had to put their dog of 15 years to sleep last week.

You could hear the heartbreak in his voice. All of us who have gone through the loss of a pet know how hard that is.

Still, I for one am a firm believer in the power of forgiveness and second chances.

Michael Vick has paid his debt to society and continues to do so. He didn't commit murder, rob a bank or sell drugs to neighborhood kids.

He is on probation, will have to submit to random drug test, and basically, has to keep his nose clean for the rest of his life.

But the best way for Mike Vick to contribute to society is by playing football. Frankly, I'm not sure he can do anything else, and still not be a burden on society.

Forcing Vick to work some menial or lowing pay job serves no purpose.

The best way for Michael Vick to stay out of trouble is playing football.

Can Vick come back after being away for two years? Only time will tell. I do know this, when he was with the Falcons, he was a game-changer. Yes, I am glad Vick was cut by Atlanta, but he made watching Atlanta games worth it. He was never the best quarterback in the league. But he was the most exciting player in the league.

Matt Ryan now is the man to lead the "Dirty Birds" to the Super Bowl, but Vick has the ability to make some franchise a better team.

Vick might have to start over. He might have to carry a clip board and serve as a backup quarterback. He might even have to learn another position.

Roger Goodell is a no nonsense commissioner.

I am sure he has laid down the law to Michael Vick.

Get in trouble just once for the remainder of your career, and you're gone for good

And that's the way it should be.

(Doug Gorman is sports editor of the Clayton-News Daily and Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached at dgorman@news-daily.com)