Chicago Sun-Times

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BOURBONNAIS, Ill.--Multiple league sources say that Michael Vick came into Chicago's O'Hare International Airport Tuesday night but that has visit has nothing to do with the Bears.

Vick is believed to be in town to take part in some type of charity work related to the time he spent in federal prison for his role in a dog fighting ring.


BOURBONNAIS, Ill.--Lovie Smith is adamant that Michael Vick deserves a second chance in the NFL after missing two seasons and spending nearly two years in prison for his role in a dogfighting ring.

"I think Mike deserves a second chance, I'll say that again,'' Smith said in his kickoff press conference to training camp Thursday afternoon at Olivet Nazarene University. ``Like everyone in society after they have paid their debt to society on any type of crime, you deserve a second chance.''

Too bad for Vick, Smith doesn't see a need on the Bears' roster, which stands one shy of the limit at 79 after the retirement of safety Glenn Earl earlier this week. Vick is seeking a new home after commissioner Roger Goodell conditionally reinstated him earlier this week. Vick is cleared to participate in all of training camp, play in the final two games of preseason and participate in regular-season games by Week 6 at the latest. The sooner Vick finds a new home, the quicker he will be able to reacclimate himself to life as a quarterback in the league, learning a new offense, new teammates and new surroundings that will certainly be a circus from the start.

"As far as we're concerned, we like the team we have right now,'' Smith said. "So if you're asking me about whether we're looking for receivers or are we going to trade guys, we like this team. I don't think we need to add anything else at this time.''

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.

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