Vick’s earning power is limited

The cautionary tale of Michael Vick continues. Once the highest-paid player in the National Football League, Vick is now dealing with a long line of creditors looking to be repaid as he climbs out of bankruptcy, proving again the adage that I tell every player I meet: It’s not what you make, it’s what you keep. The latest chapter involving a debtor is the settlement of a claim that Vick illegally withdrew $416,000 from a pension plan, an amount he has agreed to repay along with $80,000 in penalties.

Vick is now making $1.6 million from the Eagles, approximately $100,000 a week through the season. Next year is an unknown with a roster bonus in early March from the team if it chooses to keep him. Having the second year on the deal was key for the Eagles since Vick wanted to use this year to rehabilitate his game and image toward being a free agent in March and taking bids from many teams.

Vick will be using his $100,000 a week to start reducing his many debts. And although his agents touted a deal with Nike, thinking no one (including Nike) would bother sharing the small detail that the deal involves no cash, his off-the-field income is minimal at this point. A product-only deal from Nike won’t help; shirts and shoes aren’t likely to satisfy creditors.

Vick did an interview Sunday in which he said he expected to be a starting quarterback. He seems like a nice guy, and I observed him being well-liked among the Eagles, but that comment showed the self-delusion that can be troubling.

Stories like these continue to bring the type of attention to Vick that has been his undoing. The Eagles and the NFL have given him a rare opportunity to show a side of him that is responsible, professional and earnest about repairing his image and making his creditors whole. Let’s hope he seizes it and we see more about him earning money than owing it.

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