Lovie: Vick deserves a chance

By Brad Biggs
Updated: July 31, 2009

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. — If the Bears are planning to do more with the Wildcat formation this season, it will have to involve Devin Hester or Matt Forte.

Coach Lovie Smith is adamant Michael Vick deserves a second chance but doesn’t see room for the free-agent quarterback on his roster even though the Bears have a spot available.

Smith acknowledged Vick would provide a different dimension behind Jay Cutler. The Bears have two backups — Caleb Hanie and Brett Basanez — without NFL experience or the dynamic playmaking ability Vick showed in his first go-round with the Atlanta Falcons.

”I think Mike deserves a second chance, I’ll say that again,” Smith said. ”Like everyone in society after they have paid their debt to society on any type of crime, you deserve a second chance.

”As far as we’re concerned, we like the team we have right now. So if you’re asking me about whether we’re looking for receivers or are we going to trade guys, we like this team. I don’t think we need to add anything else at this time.”

Vick is seeking a new home after commissioner Roger Goodell conditionally reinstated him earlier this week after he completed his sentence for financing a dogfighting operation.

He is cleared to participate in all of training camp, play in the final two games of preseason and participate in regular-season games by Week 6. The sooner Vick finds a new home, the quicker he will be able to reacclimate himself to life as a quarterback and learning a new offense, new teammates and new surroundings.

Vick told reporters in Newport News, Va., that he is close to signing, but refused to elaborate.

”We’re getting close,” was all he said as he left a courtroom after a hearing in his bankruptcy case. At the hearing, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Frank Santoro postponed a decision on whether to approve $1.5 million in legal fees sought by Crowell & Moring, the New York law firm representing Vick in his Chapter 11 case.

Around the NFL, coaches wished Vick well but said they were not signing him. Tennessee’s Jeff Fisher, Oakland’s Tom Cable, Minnesota’s Brad Childress and Detroit’s Jim Schwartz said they were moving forward with what they have.

New England coach Bill Belichick was noncommittal, praising Vick’s athleticism and leaving it at that.

”Michael is an outstanding player, hasn’t played in a couple of years,” Belichick said. ”But right now, our focus is on our team and our players and trying to get the New England Patriots ready, and so that’s really where my attention’s been. But he’s a tremendous athlete.

Where exactly he is right now, I don’t know.”

As for the Bears, ”I like what we have right now, so I’m not going to assume that we’re not going to like something later on,” Smith said. ”I think things are going to get better and better.”

“We like what we’ve seen from Caleb when he has been given an opportunity to play. I think it’s time to give him an opportunity to see what he can do right now.

”[Vick] would be different, but again for us, we like our football team that we have right now. There aren’t any plans to go in that direction.”

NOTE: The Associated Press contributed to this story.