Vick had plenty of chances 

July, 24, 2007
A few weeks ago, I met a guy who works in the sports memorabilia business who used to do business with Michael Vick. Vick's a nice guy, he said, nice enough to ask for an autograph. Years ago he handed Vick a magazine spread that featured the QB posing with a few dogs. Vick looked at the picture, starkly said, "I miss that dog," and put his name to paper.

That's one of those moments that now, depending on whether or not you believe Vick's innocence, either means everything or nothing at all. Every moment "Vick" and "dog" are mentioned together will be parsed for meaning -- and for guilt or innocence -- until the government's case against him ends. And the parsing won't stop there. It'll include every moment with Vick's two co-defendants that the government claims began sponsoring dogfights as early as 2001.

The one thing Vick has admitted so far is that he's guilty of hanging out with the wrong people. He fell back on a cliché, basically, as evidence of his innocence. But Vick's dedication to his longtime friends is at the heart of this case, a loyalty that's as deep as his judgment is bad.