Reeves Doesn’t See His Vick In Headlines Today

By Terence Moore
Updated: June 3, 2007

Michael Vick and Dan Reeves (circa 2001)

Michael Vick and Dan Reeves (circa 2001)

ATLANTA — No, he didn’t hear, see or suspect anything involving Michael Vick and illegal dogfighting during the three seasons they were together. No, he never had a significant problem with the suddenly trouble-filled Falcons quarterback either on or off the field. No, he hasn’t a clue about how this will end.

Here’s what former Falcons coach Dan Reeves does know: Before he maneuvered in 2001 to make Vick the No. 1 pick overall in the NFL draft, he did what most of his peers would have done. That is, he called those in charge of the league’s security staff to check for anything strange in Vick’s past, dogfighting or otherwise.

Nothing, the NFL told Reeves. Still, last week an unidentified police informant told ESPN Vick was present and betting heavily on dogfighting in 2000, when he played at Virginia Tech.

“I spent a lot of time talking to [Virginia Tech football coach Frank Beamer], and he certainly didn’t know anything about [Vick and dogfighting],” said Reeves, now an NFL analyst for Westwood One radio when he isn’t helping Georgia State with its football ambitions.

“I never heard anything about any misdoings by [Vick] coming out of college, and the league certainly didn’t know of anything. I mean, Michael was like a son. I enjoyed being around him, and he was fun to be around.”

As a result, with the feds, the Virginia judicial system and the NFL’s no-nonsense commissioner starting to bark at Vick louder than those 66 dogs involved in his latest controversy, Reeves gave an invitation to Vick three weeks ago.

“I talked to him, and I told him at that time, ‘Hey, you know, I’m here. You need somebody to talk to, to bounce things off of, whatever. You know, don’t hesitate to call me,’ ” Reeves said.

“So I’m always there to talk to him if he needs help. He knows that. I don’t want to interfere with him, but all of that has got to come from him.”

The phone at Reeves’ Buckhead home has yet to ring with Vick on the other end, but Reeves should stand by.

News continues to break about Vick’s possible role in dogfighting. That news ranges from the Virginia prosecutor in Surry County claiming he has enough evidence to indict as yet unnamed persons to AirTran dropping Vick as an endorser to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sending league security to the scene to assist in the local investigation.

Not good. In contrast, there was 2002, when Vick finished his last full season under Reeves with the highest quarterback rating of his career. Vick also was maturing as a person. Among other things, Reeves hired someone to help Vick with his diction to improve his speaking in the huddle and in interviews.

“Michael was very much involved in wanting to be the best he could be and trying to do the right things,” Reeves said. “He had a great heart. Now there is no question he had some things you had to talk to him about, involving his associations. He was greatly influenced by what people would say, because he was young.”

“There were several things that happened, but it was more about, ‘Michael, you got to be careful about who you associate with.’ And I think that’s a little bit of what’s happening now. It’s just gotten out of hand.”

Which brings us to this: Reeves has been around the NFL awhile. He went to Super Bowls as a player and coach in Dallas, Denver and Atlanta. He even froze as a player during the Ice Bowl in Green Bay.

So what’s going to happen here? “I have no idea, but I’m hoping and praying Michael’s not going to be involved and that the only thing he’s guilty of is making some poor decisions as far as letting people on his property and so forth,” Reeves said. “I mean, [dogfighting] is a felony. It’s not like you not knowing this is illegal. It’s illegal most everywhere you go.”

Then Reeves paused, before mentioning his love affair with golden retrievers, Cavalier King Charles spaniels, and other types of canines. “Shoot, man. You don’t mess with my dogs,” said Reeves, easing into a chuckle.

His chuckle got louder, when the Americus native added, “Dogs are the only things that you can count on that will love you when you come home. No matter what the score is.”