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The many sides of Atlanta's Michael Vick
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By Paul Newberry

ATLANTA - There's more than one side to Michael Vick, the star quarterback.

This is a guy who can throw a football harder and farther than just about anyone on the planet, but that's only half the profile. He's one of the most thrilling runners the NFL has ever seen, slicing this way and cutting that way a la Barry Sanders, becoming the first at his position ever to gain 1,000 yards in a season with his legs.

Maybe there's more than one side to Michael Vick, the person.

Everyone from family and friends to coaches and teammates describe him as a hard worker who cares for those around him.

But a stomach-turning federal indictment portrays him as a sinister thug who used his big payday to satisfy a lust for blood, who turned dogs into killers and signed off on gruesome executions when they wouldn't fight, who never scrambled away from the shady friends on the streets of Newport News, Va.

The charges still must be determined in court. If nothing else, though, it seems clear that Vick - born to teenage parents and raised largely by his mother in a neighborhood where gangs, drugs and poverty were a constant reminder of one's standing in life - never quite shook off the code of the 'hood.

Although the Falcons insist they had no indication Vick could be involved in dogfighting, there were warning signs.

The first was an interview that Vick did shortly before he was drafted, after he talked proudly of his interest in dogs and said he wanted to open a kennel.

According to the feds, Vick did just that after signing with the Falcons, purchasing a house in rural Virginia and starting up "Bad Newz Kennels."

But after deciding to enter the NFL draft, he picked the Boys & Girls Club in Newport News to make the announcement, remembering how it shaped his life.

Just a couple of months ago, old mentor James "Poo" Johnson called Vick to ask if he could get some equipment for a Boys & Girls Club tournament. No. 7 sent the stuff right along and said he would try to attend the event.

So, who's the real Michael Vick?