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Bears Looking At QB Options, Including...Michael Vick?

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Feb 18, 2009 6:20PM

2009_02_michael_vick_ap.jpg The Bears enter this off-season as they do every year, with questions at quarterback. After a surprising start to last year, Kyle Orton seemed to have earned himself the starting job. But a late season slump that followed a mid-season injury prevented him from locking down the position. Even if he does remain atop the depth chart, they need somebody to back him up, and Rex Grossman isn't likely to return.

That leaves a number of options open for the team. Most of the speculation has centered on Chris Simms, who is interested in joining the Bears. The son of former NFL star Phil Simms, the younger Simms has rarely seen the field since suffering a ruptured spleen in week 3 of the 2006 season. He was on the Tennessee Titans roster last season, but will be a free agent. Behind both Kerry Collins and Vince Young, he's got little hope for meaningful time on the field. He realizes there's much greater opportunity with the Bears.

Simms former Tampa Bay teammate Jeff Garcia is another name mentioned as a possibility, having just parted ways with the Bucs. He is 39, but still a capable QB. But would Garcia want to join the Bears as a backup?

And then there is Michael Vick.

Yes, that Michael Vick... the one currently sitting in prison for his part in a dog fighting ring. Surely, the Bears couldn't be thinking of signing him, could they? The Falcons have made it abundantly clear he is no longer welcome in Atlanta. When Atlanta ultimately cuts Vick (because no other team will trade for him), he'll become a free agent. Would the Bears be interested? The Sun-Times' Carol Slezak brought up the subject last month, and it's again come up after ESPN's Gene Wojciechowski mentioned the Bears in yesterday's column. He failed to mention anything specific linking the Bears to Vick other than their need for a playmaker and Lovie Smith's "smother-you-with-support" treatment for wayward players. Isn't Wojciechowski forgetting how things ended for Tank Johnson and Cedric Benson?

So we're not sure how credible any rumors of Vick to the Bears are, but we're against signing Vick. We'd rather suffer through a 6-10 season than make the playoffs with him on the team. Hell, we'd rather have Grossman back. Players who can't behave off the field provide distraction and Vick's transgressions are certainly among the most egregious. He was arrested, plead guilty to the crimes and was sentenced to real jail time for them. This wasn't some DUI or gun possession rap. Sure, upon his release he'll have paid his debt to society, but that doesn't mean he's got a right to the privileged life in the NFL. His signing would immediately alienate countless fans and his presence would create an unnecessary media frenzy for his teammates to deal with. All for a guy who has been sitting in a cell for months instead of remaining in football shape, for a guy who's likely a back-up QB. Even if we didn't have moral problems with signing him, we just don't see how the risk/reward could be justified.

AP Photo