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Steelers Sign Michael Vick to One-Year Deal, Reaction Mixed Among Fans

Image via Zimbio

Image via Zimbio

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ed Bouchette, with just over two weeks to go before their season opener against the New England Patriots, the Pittsburgh Steelers have signed free agent quarterback Michael Vick to backup starter Ben Roethlisberger.

Vick was brought in to replace Bruce Gradkowski, who was placed on injured reserve after suffering a season-ending finger injury against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. He had surgery to repair the dislocated finger on his left hand on Tuesday.

Gradkowski joins kicker Shaun Suisham and Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey as the latest Steeler player to be meaninglessly sacrificed to the preseason. At least the loss of Gradkowski won’t be felt in the same way—being a Pittsburgh native seems to be the only prerequisite to back up Roethlisberger.

Bouchette rightly notes that Vick was “by far the best available who was left on the open market.” But, as is always the case with Vick, who spent 21 months in jail for his role in a dogfighting operation, the signing is considered controversial, at least among fans, who have been venting all over the internet.

That being said, the reaction hasn’t been universally negative.

A sampling of fan comments from Steelers.com

A sampling of fan comments from Steelers.com

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin acknowledged the inevitable negative publicity, but believes Vick has redeemed himself. “Obviously, you’re sensitive to those potential things,” Tomlin said. “But we’re going to do our due diligence, rest assured we’ve done that, but rest assured he’s done a lot since he’s gone through some of the things he’s gone through. His track record speaks for itself.”

“There’s not a throw on the field he can’t make from an arm-strength-standpoint, he’s a very experienced guy at what he does at this point in his career,” Tomlin said addressing Vick’s rapidly advancing age and perceived decline in strength and skill. Adding, “And obviously the mobility is still unique even at 35.”

Roethlisberger was less gushing about the Steelers latest acquisition, but he definitely toed the party line. “For me, it’s about any way, any person, any thing who can help this team,” Roethlisberger said. “If that’s Michael Vick, then so be it.”

Vick signed a one-year deal with Pittsburgh, the financial terms of which were not immediately made available.

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