Arthur Blank, the longtime owner of the Falcons, sat down for an interview recently that will air on In Depth with Graham Bensinger this weekend. During the interview, Blank opened up about a variety of different topics, including the time former Falcons head coach Bobby Petrino up and quit on the team with three games left in the 2007 NFL season just hours after saying he was still committed to coaching them. As Blank puts it, Petrino was going to be fired soon anyway. Blank also shared some advice with Raiders owner Mark Davis about the possibility of the franchise moving to Las Vegas. If you're an Oakland fan, you might want to tune in for that alone.
But the most interesting subject Blank spoke on was the last thing that Michael Vick said to him before he was imprisoned on dogfighting charges. As Blank remembers it, Vick didn't think he was actually going to end up having to serve any time in jail initially. But the Falcons quarterback was eventually sentenced to 23 months in a federal penitentiary. Blank told Bensinger about the conversation he had with Vick right before he went away:
"I said... 'Didn’t you ever think you’d be caught? How did you think you were going to get away with this?'... Michael said, 'You know my entire life—once I became the athlete I was—somebody was always there to take care of any issues that I had. Somebody always was there to kind of fend for me and cover up this for me and make it right… and I thought this was going to be another case that would happen again. Even to the very end, that some attorney… would handle this for me. And obviously I had to take responsibility for what I did—and I do—and I am going to pay a big price.' And he did."
Blank also revealed that the letters Vick wrote to him from prison made him believe that the former first overall draft pick was sincere in wanting to redeem himself for his crimes and that the environment that he grew up in contributed heavily to his highly-publicized arrest. You can watch a snippet of the interview here:
The segment will give you some insight into one of the uglier—and more bizarre—stories in recent NFL history. It's more than worth a watch if you're interested in hearing about it candidly from somebody who was very close to the situation.