Three years ago Michael Vick had just completed 21 months of jail time and was looking for a job. He very nearly ended up a Pittsburgh Steeler.
One might wonder why the then-defending Super Bowl champion Steelers would have been interested in a convicted felon who would bring a ton of baggage to the franchise. As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports, those reasons were enough to dissuade the Rooney family, which owns the team, from signing him.
As Shutdown Corner points out, the baggage would have been even heavier if one recalls that Roethlisberger was dealing with sexual assault accusations at the time, and bringing in another one-time marquee quarterback could have hurt his confidence.
But Tomlin had a different view. With only Charlie Batch and Dennis Dixon as backups to Ben Roethlisberger, Vick provided an interesting opportunity. Both Michael Vick and Tomlin were born in Newport News, Va., and both had strong relationships with Tony Dungy. That was enough to pique Tomlins’ interest, but not enough to sign him.
“Given some of the things that my quarterback was going through, I didn’t think it was the appropriate time to add another quarterback to the mix,” Tomlin told Bob Costas at the time. “He’s going through somewhat of a trying time with the civil allegation, a case against him. I didn’t want to do anything that was less than supportive to Ben.”
The way things did work out went pretty well for everyone involved. The Steelers would get back to the Super Bowl in 2010, and the Philadelphia Eagles gave Vick’s career new life.