Vick makes two moves: an apology and a decision


Published: Sunday, January 8, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 8, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
BLACKSBURG, Va. - Marcus Vick apologized to Virginia Tech on Saturday and said his next stop will be the NFL.
Not that he had many options as far as football was concerned after being tossed off the Virginia Tech team a day earlier.
The junior quarterback dazzled on the field but carried a long list of transgressions. His latest display - stomping on the leg of a fallen opponent during the Gator Bowl - prompted an outpouring of letters to the university and a plea from his mother that her son not be portrayed as a "monster."
Vick, the brother of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, had said before Monday's bowl victory over Louisville that he needed to return to Virginia Tech for another year of development. Now he plans to enter the NFL draft rather than finish his college career elsewhere.
"I am very excited about this opportunity and look forward to proving my athletic ability at the professional level," he said in a statement released through his lawyers. "I believe I am ready for this challenge and the next chapter of my life."
During the Gator Bowl, Vick was shown on tape stomping on the left calf of Louisville All-American defensive end Elvis Dumervil after a tackle. Vick claimed it was an accident, but school officials said Saturday they thought it looked intentional.
"We have received hundreds of letters from fans and alumni who are disturbed by what they saw," university president Charles Steger said at a Saturday news conference.
Vick, after contemplating his conduct, said: "I deeply regret that I allowed my competitive emotions to take control" in the Gator Bowl.
"To all of the Virginia Tech community, I sincerely apologize," he said.
Vick said he appreciated the trust coach Frank Beamer had placed in him during his stay at Virginia Tech. The coach visited the quarterback and his mother to tell him he was off the team.
"It wasn't any fun," an ashen Beamer said Saturday. "It was difficult. I hate it when there's disappointment. You wish you maybe could have done something more, better."
Vick was suspended from school in 2004 because of several legal problems, and came under intense scrutiny again because of replays of his actions against Dumervil. Vick claimed it was accidental, but hurt his cause by claiming to have apologized to Dumervil, the NCAA sacks leader. Dumervil said he received no such apology.
The last straw came Friday, even as Beamer was preparing to visit Vick and offer him the options of accepting a two-game suspension or deciding to leave Virginia Tech.
A fax sent to Steger's office disclosed that Vick had been stopped for driving 38 mph in a 25 mph zone and driving with a revoked or suspended license on Dec. 17. Vick had told Beamer about the ticket for driving on a suspended license on Dec. 19, Beamer said, but had never mentioned to anyone that he'd also been caught speeding.
Vick's license had been taken away in August 2004 when he was cited for reckless driving and marijuana possession, but had been reinstated until a friend driving a car owned by Vick was pulled over and found to not have insurance, Beamer said.
Vick received a citation as the car owner, but an investigation by the school revealed that getting his license reinstated was merely a formality, Beamer was told.
Vick entered this season trying to win his team's trust and knowing he would face hostility from opposing fans, mostly stemming from his drug arrest and another conviction for serving alcohol to underage girls during the 2003 school year.
Beamer said he, Steger and athletic director Jim Weaver agreed once all the evidence was in that the outcome had to be dismissal.
"When I go into a home and talk about how I'm going to do my best to make everything at Virginia Tech turn out successful and be good and then it doesn't reach that - it's disappointing to me as a coach," the coach said.
"I can tell you he's deeply hurt, he's deeply saddened. I can assure you this kid is very, very hurt, his mom is very, very hurt and I'm hurting with them."
n GEORGIA: Junior defensive end Quentin Moses said that he will return for his senior season. After talking with family members, Moses decided not to enter the NFL Draft as an early entry, believing he can develop more as a player.
Moses staying another year would help the Bulldogs who are losing so many players on the defense. All-American safety Greg Blue, All-SEC conerbacks DeMario Minter and Tim Jennings and defensive tackles Kedric Golston and Gerald Anderson will not return.
n UCLA: Tailback and kick returner Maurice Drew will pass up his senior season to enter the NFL draft.
Drew, selected to the All-America first team as an all-purpose player, led UCLA in rushing the past three years. He ran for 914 yards and 13 touchdowns this season to help the Bruins to a 10-2 record and No. 16 ranking in The Associated Press poll.
Drew said his decision to turn pro was to honor the wish of his late grandfather, who had a heart attack in the stands at the Rose Bowl during a UCLA game on Sept. 10 and died shortly afterward.
"That was something he and I had talked about earlier. I wasn't worried about it, wanted to make sure this season went well," Drew said Saturday during a conference call. "My grandmother told me after the USC game (Dec. 3) that he had told her that he wanted me to go to the NFL.
"I'd do anything he wanted." Drew lived with his grandparents, Maurice and Christina Jones, in Pinole, Calif., near San Francisco, for much of his youth. His grandfather was 69 when he died.
The 5-foot-8, 205-pound Drew, expected to be chosen sometime in the first three rounds of the draft, averaged a Division I-A-record 28.5 yards on 15 punt returns this season, running three back for touchdowns. He likely would be used as a returner and spot running back in the NFL.
"Maurice has made the decision that he feels is best for himself and his family," UCLA coach Karl Dorrell said in a statement. "While I would counsel players to enjoy the college experience and earn a degree, I am supportive of his decision to move onto the next stage of his life.
"Maurice is a great young man and he has been a joy to coach for the last three years. He has been a key component in the rebuilding of this program."
Eligible underclassmen have until Jan. 15 to declare whether they will enter the draft.
The Bruins, who had a string of late comebacks, are losing the bulk of their high-powered offense.
Quarterback Drew Olson and tight end Marcedes Lewis are seniors who have used up their eligibility. Those two and Drew combined for 48 of the Bruins' 53 touchdowns on offense and special teams this season.
Drew, dazzling in the open field, set a UCLA record with 4,655 career all-purpose yards in 36 games. His 39 touchdowns included 16 of 40 yards or more, including four punt returns and two kickoff returns for scores.
Slowed at times by various injuries during his career, Drew was hurt - a mild left shoulder separation - in the first quarter of the Bruins' 50-38 Sun Bowl victory over Northwestern and rushed only three times for 14 yards.
"We will miss Maurice, but we have Chris Markey, Kahlil Bell and Derrick Williams in the program. Chris and Kahlil showed what they are capable of during the Sun Bowl," Dorrell said. "In addition, we are recruiting several running backs and are looking to sign some top prospects on February 1."
Markey rushed for 150 yards and Bell for 136, both career highs, in the Bruins' 50-38 Sun Bowl win over Northwestern.
UCLA also has a highly regarded quarterback waiting in the wings. Ben Olson, who redshirted a year at BYU before going on a religious mission, joined the Bruins last year and battled Drew Olson, no relation, for the starting job in fall camp.

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