ORLANDO, Fla. — Michael Vick was supposed to be one of the marquee names and interest points for the debut of the Alliance of American Football on Saturday night as the offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Legends. Instead, the former Pro Bowl quarterback is now taking on a new role — still in the league, but away from coaching.
Jeff Fisher, the former Rams and Titans head coach who is the league’s head of football strategy, said Vick is instead taking on a role in the league’s administrative body.
“It was an unusual set of circumstances in that Mike had accepted a role with Brad Childress early on as an offensive coach, as an offensive coordinator,” Fisher said. “And then with Brad’s sudden departure, things, they kind of just, they got hard. I can’t thank the Atlanta franchise enough for pulling through the hard times.
“But circling back to Mike, his role is going to change. You can appreciate the difficulty from a place he was put into. His role is going to change and we spoke to Mike over the past couple days and he’s going to move over and assume a league role along with Hines Ward in player development. That’s the best place for him.”
Vick’s role had already started to shift. He will now work with player development and player welfare. He will remain in an “off-the-field” role in Atlanta, but he won’t be coaching this season for the Legends. Fisher said discussions about a changed role for Vick happened over the “last couple of days.”
Fisher said Vick was not in attendance for the season opener in Orlando, where the Apollos beat Atlanta 40-6, because he was preparing instead for his new role with the league.
Part of why Vick came to the AAF was for the opportunity to coach — and to assume the role of playcaller earlier than he might have had he gone a more traditional NFL route. And Fisher said they haven’t ruled that out in the future.
But the situation he ended up in, with Childress departing and first-time head coach Kevin Coyle taking over for him, was a hard one. Plus, Fisher said, Vick had some “family issues” pop up around the time of Childress’ departure that complicated matters. Vick had never been a position coach before, let alone a coordinator, and not having an offensive-minded mentor like Childress altered the league’s plan to develop Vick as a coordinator.
“Because of the timing thing, it wasn’t possible for him to come in and take an active role with respect to the offense,” Fisher said. “So Mike and I both agreed in a conversation last night that let’s just take a deep breath and let’s kind of embrace the league, embrace the experience and we’ll see where the coaching opportunities are down the road.”
The particulars of Vick’s new role are still being worked out — Ward, for instance, will travel most of the season while Vick will have some duties in Atlanta — but, Fisher said, “We’re working that out right now.”