The Bears' eighth summer at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill., is going to be like never before starting Friday with the arrival of the Jay Cutler Tour.
What if they added Michael Vick to the mix?
That might just turn the campus upside down for a few weeks. My colleague Mike Mulligan explores just that issue in today's edition of the Sun-Times. He points out that if general manager Jerry Angelo was truly fixated with the quarterback position, then is it enough to add Cutler? Does he really want Caleb Hanie or Brett Basanez one snap away from being thrust into the spotlight? It's a question that teams have to be asking themselves everywhere this week. What can Vick do for us?
"There are people who never will forgive Vick and protesters who are sure to follow him to whatever NFL city he eventually lands,'' Mulligan writes. "Why would the Bears or any NFL team open itself up to such scrutiny? Cynical as it sounds, in the Bears' case, the scrutiny would help. It would be a welcome diversion to Jay Cutler fever, offer a storyline to pursue, another name to acknowledge, a different circus to follow."
From a football standpoint, the question with Vick is where is his talent level at after sitting out for two seasons and how quickly could he learn an offense to be effective, even if it was in just a part-time hybrid Wildcat role? As part of his conditional return to the game, commissioner Roger Goodell has cleared him to participate in training camp, play in the final two weeks of the preseason and participate in all team activities with the exception of games. Goodell will consider a full reinstatement by Week 6 at the latest. That means Vick could be on the playing field before even then if all goes well.
It's too early to tell what kind of market there will be for the 29-year-old and former No. 1 overall pick. Some teams have already come out and said they have no interest, including Dallas and both New York clubs. Someone figures to take a chance and see what Vick has to offer. Should the Bears be the one? Almost every move they've made this offseason points to efforts to make a Super Bowl run and do so quickly. Yes, signing a veteran cornerback like Ken Lucas or Rod Hood would have helped a secondary that now misses Charles Tillman and ranked 30th vs. the pass in 2008. Adding Vick to the mix would give offensive coordinator Ron Turner another weapon for an offense that has sorely lacked them in recent seasons. Angelo has a close working relationship with Vick's agent Joel Segal. Striking a deal on a contract would be no problem.
What's your take?