CHURCHES ACROSS North America must be full of recent converts. That thought was prominent after hearing Michael Vick had found Jesus during his moment of contrition before howling crowds and dead dogs.
Now, this lowly scribe wouldn't cast any stone (even the first one) at the falling Atlanta superstar, however, he followed up his statement of "Dogfighting is a terrible thing and I reject it ... I found Jesus and turned my life over to God" with "I think that's the right thing to do as of right now."
Whatcha mean by saying as of right now, Michael?
Vick had been indicted on July 17 along with three other defendants on "charges of violating federal laws against dogfighting." He pleaded guilty; suspended indefinitely by the NFL and will appear before The Judge on Dec. 10 for sentencing. He could get anywhere from a year to five years in the slammer.
A few columns back I listed a number of sports figures such as Mark Bell, Eric and Jordan Staal, Chris Chambers, Jose Offerman, Tim Donaghy, and, of course, Vick, who had been caught in a web of trouble of their own making.
However, just the other day, I uncovered a list of 308 arrests and citations as of April 22 "involving NFL players since 2000," and compiled by Brent Schrotenboer, Erin Hobbs and Merrie Monteagudo of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Since April the list has been updated and 22 more names were added bringing you until Monday of this week. Perhaps, more names will be added this week. If I were a betting man, I'd count on it.
In August, these names stood out:
* 8/27/2007 -- Lance Briggs, Chicago Bears LB. Charged with leaving the scene of an accident after crashing his 2007 Lamborghini (valued more than $300,000) into a pole and leaving it on side of a Chicago expressway. Court date Oct. 4.
* 8/23/2007 -- David Boston, Tampa Bay Bucs WR. Arrested, charged with DUI after police found him passed out behind the wheel of vehicle in Florida. Pending.
* 8/5/2007 -- Anthony Hargrove, Buffalo Bills DE. Arrested charged with resisting arrest, harassment and criminal mischief after allegedly striking a police officer outside a nightclub.
Other names which glared from the San Diego Union-Tribune list included:
* Terry (Tank) Johnson, Chicago DL. Tank was pulled over for speeding, arrested for "DUI impaired to the Slightest Degree" in Arizona on June 22. He was released by the Bears three days later. The case was dropped when he registered 0.72, under the legal limit of 8.0. His football future is still in doubt.
* 6/22/2007 -- Adam (Pacman) Jones, Tennessee Titans CB. Charged with felony coercion stemming from February melee and shooting at Las Vegas club. Oct. 29 preliminary hearing.
* 5/10/2007 -- Steve McNair, Baltimore QB. Arrested, charged with being the owner of a vehicle operated by a drunken driver. McNair was a passenger in his truck. Charges dropped after driver had his DUI charge reduced to reckless driving.
* 3/21/2007 -- Chris Henry, Cincinnati WR. Cited for three traffic charges, including driving with a suspended license, vehicle impounded.
* 3/18/2007 -- Joey Porter, Miami LB. Misdemeanor battery charge at Las Vegas casino vs. Levi Jones. Pleaded no contest, $1,000 fine. NFL fined him three game cheques ($141,176).
In backtracking, on Feb. 27, Vick was cited for trespassing after fishing at a private lake in Virginia, a misdemeanor. The citation was dropped.
While Vick's name has been prominent in the past few days, another Atlanta player, DT Jonathan Babineaux, was arrested on Feb. 19 on charges of felony animal cruelty.
According to a Gwinnett County, Georgia police report the 286-pound Babineaux was held after his girlfriend's dog, Kilo, apparently died of blunt force trauma.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE (From Uncle John's Bathroom Reader): These are snippets from real church bulletins -- "This afternoon there will be a meeting in the south and north ends of the church. Children will be baptized at both ends." ... "A bean supper will be held Saturday evening in the church basement. Music will follow."
PRIMETIME PROVERBS (From The Addams Family): Morticia Addams: "Now Pugsley darling, who could be closer than a boy and his mother?" Pugsley Addams: "A boy and his octopus?" Morticia (smiling): "Hmmm ... Perhaps." ... From The Bullwinkle Show -- Aesop, Jr. "There's no fuel like an old fuel!" Aesop, Sr.: "Hmmm ... I gas you're right."