The Pittsburgh Steelers needed another backup quarterback and turned to Michael Vick, who didn’t really have any other options. But there’s something different about this signing.
Vick coming in isn’t about creating some competition at quarterback, which obviously draws unwarranted attention and puts the whole team in an unstable situation. At 35, with no one else wanting him, this is a player coming to be a backup, nothing less, filling in for the injured Bruce Gradkowski, who’ll need surgery on both his arms after picking up an injury in the preseason game against the Green Bay Packers.
Vick played last season for the New York Jets. He started in just three games (played 10 overall), completing just 52.9% of his passes, throwing three touchdowns and a couple of interceptions. He lost a starting job early on in the 2013 season with the Philadelphia Eagles, where he was able to resurrect his career after being incarcerated for organizing dog fights that resulted in death for the animals.
Ben Roethlisberger isn’t feeling someone breathing down his neck. He simply knows this is about making sure the team has two quarterbacks to back him up if necessary, the other being Landry Jones. This isn’t a case of Vick becoming a lightning rod of problems. He didn’t cause anything out of the ordinary while playing for the Jets. He simply played next to a bad quarterback in Geno Smith.
The situation is interesting because of Vick’s history and Roethlisberger’s known love for dogs, with the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation helps support K-9 units of police and fire departments. He was asked, obviously, about the new situation, but didn’t provide an answer that can be turned into some media scandal. Boring, but better for the team.
Vick doesn’t have the mobility and arm strength he used to have when he was one of the most exciting players in the league, and even later on during a short period of comeback in Philly. But the Steelers probably won’t even have to use him. If they do, it means their season is really going towards a bad place.