PETER KING: Now that some time has passed, can your locker room accept Riley Cooper back?
MICHAEL VICK: “I’ve been Riley’s teammate for three years. Three years … I just know what type of person he is. I hung out with him in a certain way that was diverse, with blacks and whites and we were all together. I know that [racial epithet] isn’t in his character, and after seeing the video, and everyone talking about, the first thing I thought about was: ‘How can we just not give him an opportunity to explain himself, and somehow or some way reinvent himself?’ ”
KING: How much of that is your history—the arrest, the jail time—and your feeling that a person deserves a second chance in life?
VICK: “I mean, that plays a part in it. I just felt like, just because he made that one mistake, doesn’t mean he can’t overcome it. Or he can’t be condemned for it. Everybody deserves a second chance. He needs a second chance, it’s just gonna take a little time. But, from us, his brothers in the octagon, we have to be able understand before we go to the public and ask for a general understanding. Because, first off, I know how ugly it can be. And I don’t want that for him. What I would ask people is: Just for one second, expand your mind. Just expand your mind and have supernatural thinking about it. Everything can be fixed at some point. So many people forgave me. And it took time. It’s still taking time. I think the team will come around [with Cooper]. The minute they step on that field and somebody is on the edge and Coop makes a block, or Coop catches the game-winning pass … It may have to happen like that, but hey, that’s the world we’re living in right now.”
KING: Chip Kelly said he was surprised at how quickly the players bought into what he’s doing. Have the players bought in?
VICK: “Well, we bought in because the players respected him from afar. We saw what he did at Oregon. We watched. Maybe he still doesn’t know that … But it’s a good offense. You just play the game with pace. Create mismatches. I think that’s a big part of our game. I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. It’s early. But I think this is going to be very good for me.”