Seattle Seahawks head coach Jim Mora knows Michael Vick better than most folks involved in the NFL because of the three seasons he served as the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons during the shamed quarterback’s tenure. However, Mora’s not talking.
Seahawks team officials declined to make Mora available to reporters on Thursday after the team’s practice.
Mora addressed the issue during the NFL scouting combine in February, saying he believes everyone deserves second chances, but ultimately stating he’s happy with the quarterback situation in Seattle and doesn’t see Vick in the team’s long-term plans.
Mora’s thoughts on Vick’s return are of interest because speculation nationally has Seattle as a possible destination for Vick if the league decides to reinstate him.
Vick was released from a federal prison in Kansas on Wednesday and will serve the final two months of his 23-month sentence for running a dogfighting ring on home detention in Virginia.
Vick’s ties to Seattle are obvious. He was a Pro Bowl quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons during Mora’s tenure there. Seahawks team president and general manager Tim Ruskell and offensive coordinator Greg Knapp both worked in Atlanta during Vick’s time with the Falcons.
But Seattle, with veteran quarterbacks Matt Hasselbeck and Seneca Wallace in the fold, doesn’t have an immediate need for a quarterback. Further, Ruskell’s emphasis on acquiring players with good character would seem to lessen the possibility of Vick joining the Seahawks.
Even though Mora declined to talk about the Vick situation, former Atlanta Falcons teammate Justin Griffith spoke in support of Vick returning to the NFL.
“I think it’s great,” Griffith said about Vick’s release from a federal prison on Wednesday. “He served his time, and now he needs to get back out there and start playing again. The guy is a great athlete, and I think the NFL is missing an athlete like that right now.
“You don’t see the stuff that he used to do – we don’t see that anymore. So hopefully he can get back there, get into shape and someone will give him a shot, and hopefully he’ll be the same Michael Vick we used to love all the time.”
Griffith said Vick got along with his teammates in Atlanta and could contribute if allowed to rejoin the league.
“Me personally, when someone goes through something like that they learn a whole lot of stuff,” Griffith said. “And just for him to get a second chance to come back and play, we’ll probably see things we’ve never seen before.
“Mike was a team player. He was our quarterback. He was our leader and stuff. So I hate that that stuff happened, but his time is up now, and now he has to do what he needs to do to get back out there on the field.”
Unlike Mora, Knapp did talk with reporters after practice, but refused to answer questions about Vick’s possible return because he said Vick’s still under contract with the Falcons.
But Knapp did talk about Vick’s performance during his time as a coach in Atlanta.
“He did a fine job in Atlanta,” Knapp said. “Our first year there when Jim and I were there he helped us get to the NFC Championship Game and provided a great dimension for a run/pass quarterback, so he did a lot of nice things for us.”
Seahawks running back T.J. Duckett, a teammate of Vick’s while in Atlanta also was unwilling to speculate on Vick’s possible NFL future.
“I’m not going to comment on Michael Vick,” Duckett said. “Just because it’s a long time ago and there’s really no reason to keep rehashing the subject. It happened and we’re moving forward.”