Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said he wanted to sign Michael Vick after he was released from prison in 2009.
Imagine this weekend when the Eagles travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers that Michael Vick was on the home team? That's the scenario posited by Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and if Steelers' coach Mike Tomlin had his way, it would have happened.
Bouchette says that Tomlin, who hails from the same hometown as Vick (Newport News), wanted to sign Vick in 2009 when he got out of prison and then Steelers backup Byron Leftwich had left for Tampa Bay.
Tomlin, who used to coach the secondary for the Bucs, knew Vick well from his days as a Falcon in the NFC South. Plus, Tomlin worked under Tony Dungy, who as we know was mentoring Vick post-prison. However, there were evidently two main reasons the deal never happened.
The main reason was the Rooneys were dead set against it. They had no desire to bring on a felon, just out of prison, and all the negative reaction his signing would bring, both internally and externally. Plus, the Steelers were reigning Super Bowl champs. Who needed that headache?
The irony of that is actually what really nixed the deal for Tomlin. At the same time, Ben Roethlisberger was being investigated for allegedly raping a girl in a bar in Georgia while also being sued by another woman for an alleged sexual assault in Las Vegas. Tomlin felt like bringing in Vick would have only heaped the pressure on Roethlisberger .
"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 NBC-TV's Bob Costas that year. "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."
Things really could have gotten interesting because as you may remember, Ben was suspended for the first 4 games of 2010. That's exactly the time when Michael Vick started tearing up the league and basically stole the Eagles starting job from Kevin Kolb.
Now, that was just Kevin Kolb, an unproven young QB. Imagine the megaton QB controversy if it was Vick vs Roethlisberger?