July 27, 2009
(Very) Alternate Reality
Renton, WA (August 8, 2009)
The national media and a swarm of protesters descended upon the Virgina Mason Athletic Center for the arrival of new Seahawks quarterback Michael Vick. The surprising signing of the former Atlanta Falcons star has divided fans in the northwest, with some hailing Vick as an important piece to the championship puzzle. Another vocal group of fans is organizing a boycott of the Seahawks, and PETA is vowing to protest at all of Seattle's home games this season.
"I'm incredibly grateful for the opportunity that Coach Mora is giving me, and I just want to contribute to the team's success any way I can," said Vick. If there was any truth to rumors of the Vick signing dividing the Seattle locker room, none were evident during his first practice with the team. Vick sported his familiar number seven after reaching an undisclosed agreement with kicker Brandon Coutu, and shared 2nd-team snaps at quarterback with Seneca Wallace.
"We all want the team to succeed, and hopefully Mike can help us reach our goals as a team," said Wallace. Despite speculation that Vick might be used as part of a "wildcat" package, he only saw action at quarterback today.
While the mood was somewhat normal inside the Seahawks facility, outside the gates opposing groups of fans vocally stated their cases, waving homemade pro-and-anti Vick placards. While a few fans were already wearing Seahawks jerseys bearing Vick's name and number, the majority of fans outside the VMAC seemed upset about the signing.
"Ruskell has gone too far with this move," said Chareth Cutestory, 35, of Bellingham. "I've already called the Seahawks ticket office to demand a refund on my season ticket package."
The big question among fans is what effect the Vick signing has on Matt Hasselbeck's status as Seattle's starting quarterback. The veteran was not available for comment by press time, but had this to say about the signing via his twitter feed:
"Welcome aboard, Mike! Ouch! I think I just got stung by a bee! Do you pee on it?"
When asked about Vick's availability for next week's preseason opener at San Diego, Coach Mora was non-committal.
"He just got here, guys! Let us see how he looks in practice this week, and then I'll let you know if he'll play against the Chargers."
One thing is clear: The signing of Vick is clearly a high risk/high reward proposition, and it's a move that has shifted the eyes of the NFL northwest towards Seattle.