Published November 20, 2014
Michael Vick said Monday that he cried following the shooting after his 30th birthday bash, but not because he had done anything wrong.
The Philadelphia Eagles quarterback said he cried because he had let people down by putting himself in situation he now knows he should have avoided.
However, through police investigations, probes by the NFL and his team, Vick never doubted he would report to the Eagles' training camp on time.
On Monday, there he was.
At no point, Vick said, was he formally cleared by the league.
"I just always thought I was good to go," he said. "I just woke up this morning planning on being here. Didn't talk to anybody. The plan was for me to be here today, and I'm here."
The NFL never took any disciplinary against Vick as a result of the incident and on Monday NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the Associated Press that there had been no change in Vick's playing status. When asked whether a league investigation of Vick had been completed, Greg Aiello told the AP via e-mail that the league would have no further comment on the matter at this time.
The NFL and the Eagles have been looking into a June 25 shooting outside a restaurant in Virginia Beach, Va., where Vick's birthday party was held.
Police have said no charges will be filed in the case because of a lack of cooperation on the part of witnesses or the victim. Vick's attorney, Larry Woodward, has identified the victim as Quanis Phillips, co-defendant in a dog fighting case that resulted in Vick serving an 18-month sentence in federal prison.
Vick declined Monday to get into the specifics of the shooting, which he described as "an unfortunate situation." But he reiterated that he spoke with authorities soon after it occurred to "let them know exactly what happened."
He also put in a call to Eagles coach Andy Reid, and said he spoke briefly via telephone last week with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Vick said the two of them will presumably speak again when Goodell's tour of training camps brings him to Philadelphia's Lehigh University-based camp on Aug. 3.
Vick admitted that he was "curious" two or three weeks ago as to whether he would be in camp.
"But," he said, "I knew the facts. I knew I didn't do anything wrong over the last couple weeks with this unfortunate situation. The whole time I was confident I would be here."
There had been reports that the Eagles might cut Vick, whom they had signed on the eve of last season, in the wake of the shooting. But Reid said Monday that after speaking with his quarterback and authorities, he was comfortable that Vick had done nothing wrong.
"No. 1, you listen to what exactly happened, and the law enforcement part of it," Reid said. "They cleared Michael. Obviously he didn't break the law there. That's the No. 1 thing you look at."
And when Vick described the events of June 25, Reid said, "It was the same story all the way through. The story didn't change."
Vick said he spoke not only with Reid shortly after the shooting, but also former NFL coach Tony Dungy, who has served as Vick's mentor since his release from prison. When Reid was told that the shooting victim was one of Vick's co-defendants, "he wasn't happy about it," Vick said.
"It wasn't a pleasant conversation with him," Vick said, "nor was it a pleasant conversation with Tony. ... And it was hard for me to keep my composure because I knew what happened and I knew I never should have put myself in that situation. I probably never cried more in a 24-hour time span than I did (before) in my entire life because I knew that I hurt a lot of people.
"It really wasn't about me. It was about the people who gave me an opportunity — and that's Roger and Andy and Tony."
Vick said he learned there had been a shooting "15, 20 minutes" after it occurred, and that he learned Phillips was the victim subsequent to that. Vick also said he does not know who the shooter was.
He did say that the partygoers were "mostly family and friends."
Nevertheless, looking back, Vick said he should have handled things differently.
"Like I tell everybody, if certain people wouldn't have shown up, (the shooting) never would have happened," he said. "If I could reach back and do it all over again. I would have listened to my mom and had it private — let her and my fiancee orchestrate the party.
"It goes to show that Mama knows best, and we all think that we know certain things, and we want to do what we want to do. You've got to start listening to your mom at some point ... that was a lesson that I learned."