So Michael Vick enters his plea, and now his future, football and otherwise, is in the hands of U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson, who has a reputation as a tough hombre when it comes to sentencing.
Since I'm not a lawyer (and don't even play one on TV), my guess on Vick's sentence is as good as anyone on the street. But I'll guess anyway: I say he doesn't get more than 18 months. Even if Judge Hudson does not have to abide by the prosecution's recommendation, I think he'll decide not to destroy the young man's life by throwing the book at him, which would be a five-year sentence.
Of course, Vick's reputation will be forever tarnished -- as it should be. But we must keep in mind that as heinous as his crime was, it really was nowhere as notorious as say, what Rae Carruth did. And should Vick be able to come back to the NFL? Well, after he has paid his debt to society, I don't see why not, provided that somebody in the league is willing to give him a chance. At the moment, with him suspended indefinitely without pay, that's a long way away.
The bottom line, though, is this: What a waste. Michael Vick was one of the faces of the National Football League, right up there with Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and LaDainian Tomlinson. But he threw everything away because of his complete and utter lack of character and sound judgment. This is not a guy who just made one mistake. He willfully engaged in an illegal enterprise for a period of over six years. For that, he must now pay a heavy price.