Can Michael Vick Make a Comeback?

This is a rush transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," August 21, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: After agreeing to plead guilty, who says that Michael Vick is finished? Sure, he may be looking at hard time, and sponsors may be pulling the plug on those lucrative deals.

But, if my next guest is right, Vick can come back, big. And he should know. He is legendary sports agent Leigh Steinberg.

Leigh Steinberg has represented, among so many others, Troy Aikman, Steve Young, and, yes, even Ricky Williams, who also had a run-in with the law.

So, you — you claim, Leigh, it's possible to come back?


At this moment, it appears absolutely cataclysmic. Michael Vick is obviously going to have to serve time. He will get suspended by the commissioner. And I would predict that virtually every advertiser is going to flee from him. This issue has transfixed this country. It's jumped onto the front pages of newspapers. It's being discussed everywhere, from water coolers to schoolyards. And the country is horrified.

However, if he were to serve time, go through a suspension, and be truly repentant, and ally himself with animal rights groups, and dedicate his life, and you have a tearful Michael Vick talking about how he has done wrong, the country also loves a second chance. He is young. He will be able to come back into football, still at a young age.

And, if he were to perform well and be truly and sincerely repentant, he could have a chance.

CAVUTO: Well, but you really wouldn't know.

Now, we have had cases where Jamal Lewis served a four-month sentence for a cell phone incident, where he was trying to facilitate a — a drug deal. Leonard Little, a defensive end with the Saint Louis Rams, he served 90 days after killing a woman in an automobile accident. They did come back. You're quite right.

But there does seem to be this love of animals in this country that seems to be much bigger than people appreciated and much more enormous than certainly Vick appreciated.

STEINBERG: Well, more to the...

CAVUTO: They are going to be a tough group to win over, right?

STEINBERG: Absolutely. He probably would have done better if he had assaulted a human being than a dog. He has hit a nerve throughout the country. And advertisers will flee at this point. They are looking to get transference of positive name recognition to their products, so they are running for the hills at this particular moment.

But think about the fact that Ray Lewis, linebacker for Baltimore, was involved in a murder case, and it was incomprehensible, as it was with Kobe Bryant, to think that they ever could have come back into favor. Both of those athletes are doing national endorsements now. So, we have to look beyond this time, a couple years down the line, to a very different time.

Time heals all wounds. And people, as much as they love the fall of the high and mighty, also love a comeback story.

CAVUTO: All right.

Well, let's talk a little bit about his story, though. Let's say he serves a year to 18 months in prison. He would effectively miss two seasons, right? So, then he is, what, 30, 31 years old?





CAVUTO: Now, obviously, you know, for quarterbacks, there is a longer lease on life, I grant you. But — but then you have to get past the hump of still being with the Falcons, if they want you, and then, going beyond that, to get endorsers, if they will have you.

STEINBERG: Neil, he will be waived by the Falcons as soon as the NFL issues its edict. So, it won't be the Falcons.

CAVUTO: So, he's gone; he is out?


And what will occur then is that, when he comes back, he will be a free agent able to sign with any team. The quarterback is the most critical position on a football team. This is a player, remember, who was the whole face of the NFL. He was being groomed to be the poster boy for the league.

He is gifted. So, he will get another chance because of the position he plays and his talent level.

CAVUTO: Yes, but many — many Atlanta fans say he disappointed them anyway. He's into a very pricey contract, I think a $130-million, 10-year contract. so, they might say, hey, good riddance, regardless, right?

STEINBERG: I understand. That is their attitude.

But he will get another chance, and he will have the opportunity to play. I have had quarterbacks, Troy Aikman, Warren Moon, Steve Young, who won Super Bowls, made Pro Bowls late into their 30s.


STEINBERG: And, as horrific as this situation seems now, remember that we're talking — at this point, it was incomprehensible to think that Kobe Bryant would be back doing national endorsements.

CAVUTO: Well, good points all, Leigh. We will see what happens.

Leigh Steinberg in Irvine, California, thank you.

STEINBERG: My pleasure.

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