I already wrote a bit about this over at Epic Carnival, but what I wrote over there was basically the straight news angle. Basically, the only thing keeping Michael Vick from agreeing to a plea bargain is he wants to find out what the NFL will do if he pleads guilty.
In other words, he wants to know this: If I plead guilty, can I still eventually play football down the line?
I can't blame Vick for wanting to know this at all. Because let's be honest, there's no reason for him to agree to the plea bargain if it means Goodell will suspend him for life from football - which is always an outside possiblity.
By the same token, the leaking of this information (which I think was a calculated move) that Vick wants some news from the NFL now puts the onus on Goodell. Now certainly you can say Goodell has nothing to worry about, he's not the one facing a Friday deadline.
Well, in some ways he is. Goodell has come down quick and hard on players such as Pacman Jones, who still hasn't been convicted of anything serious. And even guys like Chris Henry and Tank Johnson, although they've done some dangerous things, haven't done anything quite in Vick's territory.
Goodell has some serious decisions to make. The first is should he let Michael Vick know what the NFL's stance will be if Vick pleads guilty. Goodell has to realize that football is Vick's life. And if Vick is seriously contemplating risking everything here, you could argue Goodell owes Vick at least a straight up answer by Friday about his football career.
There's also the question of does Goodell let a guy who has pled guilty (and will likely go to jail even if he pleads) eventually come back into the league? There's certainly a precedent for this, Jamal Lewis being the most recent example. But Goodell has been much harder on players than Tagliabue ever was.
This leaves Goodell in the unenviable position of does he risk not saying anything to Vick at all - and potentially watch Vick go to trial, get convicted, and go to jail for 3+ years. Or does he provide the groundwork that would ultimately allow a convicted felon back into the league in the future - which to a degree destroys the groundwork he's laid with Pacman and the like.
The bottom line here is both men are in very difficult positions at this exact moment in time - seeing as they're both fighting for something that defines them. For Vick it's football, for Goodell it's his league. It'll be awful interesting to see how this game of chicken plays out.