I figure as the Michael Vick story unfolds, or his career possibly unravels, depending on how all this works out, many, many more anecdotes and angles on the subject with undoubtedly appear here. So, we might as well start serializing them. Consider this the first episode of what promises to be a lengthy soap opera.
As an opener, there's the trade that set the course for the two franchises involved, the Falcons and the Chargers. The history lesson comes courtesy of San Diego Union columnist Nick Canepa.
Canepa retold the tale of the deal that the Chargers made before the 2001 draft in which San Diego gave Atlanta the No. 1 pick that year in exchange for the fifth overall selection and some player.
With that top choice, Atlanta greedily latched onto its franchise quarterback of the future, Michael Vick. With the lower pick, San Diego took a running back named LaDainian Tomlinson.
But in the words of radio commentator Paul Harvey, here's the rest of the story, as Canepa laid it out.
The deal never would have been made if the Falcons didn't throw in that "some player" I referenced above. For some reason, the Chargers personnel guy, the late John Butler, coveted receiver-return specialist Tim Dwight (being tackled here by the Ravens' Ed Reed). As the two sides haggled, Dwight became more and more the issue of contention. The Chargers insisted and the Falcons resisted. Dwight had clearly became the deal-maker/breaker. Only at the last minute did the Falcons agree to make him part of the package.
Dwight has had a nice career, particularly the four seasons he spent bringing back punts and kickoffs in San Diego (three for touchdowns). But for the two teams, Dwight's legacy will go well beyond his own numbers and be reflected in the respective careers of Tomlinson and Vick, one probably headed to the Hall of the Fame and the other, quite possibly, to infamy.
Photo credit: Gene Sweeney Jr.