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Teaching an Old Dogfighter New Tricks

Michael Vick appears truly repentant. Can we forgive him?

I was home in Philadelphia last Thursday when the news broke that my beloved Eagles had signed Michael Vick to a two-year contract. This came just four months after his release from prison on charges related to dogfighting. Local reactions were immediate and impassioned; people picketed the Eagles' offices, called for boycotts on team sponsors, and returned their season tickets, which some estimate to have between a 400- and 4,000-year wait. "Hide Your Beagle, Vick's an Eagle" was a popular rallying cry on the nightly news.

But others lined up at sporting goods stores to see if they could get one of the first Vick jerseys printed on Eagles green, nearly salivating as they described the new life Vick might breathe into the offensive strategy. While Philly fans are known for their passionate, vocal responses—both positive and negative—to their teams, it seems like since Thursday, even people outside Philadelphia and even the sports world have had something to say about it.

The big question is whether Michael Vick should ever be allowed to play football again, especially in the nation's premier league. He's had his chance, and he messed up. Big time.

But this is a story about second chances. Michael Vick wants one. The Eagles are giving him one. Will we extend him the same courtesy? How do we decide who deserves a second chance, and what form that might take?

This all hits close to home for Eagles head coach Andy Reid, who took time off two years ago when his two sons were ...

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