TRADING E-MAIL WITH ...
Injured Falcons quarterback Michael Vick
SI: Ever lie in bed at night and say, "Why me?"
Vick: No. This is God's plan. I was hoping it would not include
me getting injured, but it did.
SI: Ray Lewis told me that you guys met on the field before the
game in which you got hurt. He said you were a little bummed out
about having to play two quarters in that game, and he sort of
scolded you, saying, "Go out and play one way--like Mike Vick."
Vick: I don't remember everything we said, but I have always
believed that when I step on the field, I can only play at full
speed. Even this injury will not change the way I play.
SI: What's your gut feeling about when you'll return?
Vick: Oct. 5, against Minnesota.
SI: Michael or Mike? Which do you prefer?
Vick: I guess I would say Mike. That's what the guys call me.
SI: What's September going to be like for the Falcons?
Vick: I guarantee that the Falcons will be fine with Doug Johnson
STAR IN THE MAKING
Panthers weakside linebacker Will Witherspoon
Carolina went 4-1 last December with Witherspoon, a 231-pound
rookie, subbing at middle linebacker for the injured Dan Morgan
and averaging nine tackles a game. Morgan is back, so the quick
Witherspoon (4.6 in the 40) returns to his customary outside
slot, where his role is to support the run and cover backs on
short passing routes. "He's going to be special," says Panthers
coach John Fox. "He's so smart, and he plays so fast. He's going
to make some very big plays for us."
Bills rookie running back Willis McGahee (left), whose status for
this season is uncertain as he rehabs his surgically repaired
left knee, should take heart: Two of the NFL's top 20 alltime
rushers missed their rookie years with leg injuries. Ricky
Watters (13th on the list, with 10,643 yards) and Terry Allen
(19th, 8,614 yards) wound up playing for 10 seasons each.
MY TWO CENTS
1. NFL owners are foolish if they don't vote to reduce the number
of preseason games next year from four to two. There are too many
injuries in these exhibitions. And while commissioner Paul
Tagliabue's idea to increase the number of regular-season games
to 18 might appease the networks, adding games only increases the
chances of injuries.
2. Dallas is the perfect place for Drew Henson, the Yankees'
struggling minor league third baseman. One of the Cowboys' most
respected scouts, Jim Garrett, has told owner Jerry Jones that
Henson, the former Michigan passer whose rights belong to the
quarterback-loaded Texans, could, in time, be better than Troy
COLOR PHOTO: DONNA MCWILLIAM/AP (VICK) VIP TREATMENT Vick got a ride from Falcons owner Arthur Blank onSunday.
COLOR PHOTO: ALAN DIAZ/AP