The UFL is an upstart league headed by its commissioner, Michael Huyghue, a former NFL executive. It has sufficient funding, a smart plan and credibility. The head coaches of the four franchises in 2009 all are former NFL coaches: Jim Fassel (Las Vegas), Dennis Green (San Francisco), Ted Cottrell (New York) and Jim Haslett (Orlando).
Michael Vick's rights already have been assigned to Orlando, even though Huyghue has not given the official green light to Vick, avoiding any appearance of upstaging Goodell.
Nevertheless, if Vick is shut out by the NFL, either by commissioner's decision or by 32 teams with cold feet, it's expected the UFL will provide him an opportunity.
More than one NFL executive and coach believes it's an ideal forum. For one, it provides more space and time for the public -- owners included -- to get comfortable with Vick's return as a player and person.
From the football perspective, it allows him to take every repetition for 2½ months through practice and a six- or seven-game season as a starting quarterback. After the UFL title game during Thanksgiving weekend, Vick would be free to sign with any NFL team.
"As a league, we'll let due process take its course but, yes, I'd love to have him and I think he would benefit from playing with us and in our league," Haslett said. "It would be a great way for him to knock off the rust and get in true football playing condition. Obviously, we know his abilities and we'd certainly tailor to his strengths."
Haslett knows Vick's abilities because he was head coach of the New Orleans Saints and competed against Vick and the Falcons in the NFC South. Haslett's offensive coordinator in Orlando will be Jay Gruden, who's familiar with Vick's skills from his days under brother Jon with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, also in the NFC South.
Here's something else that might surprise the casual observer and please Vick's creditors through bankruptcy court: The quarterback could make more money signing with the UFL. Several sources say the league is willing to pay Vick considerably more than any other player -- around $1 million -- because he would be a marquee attraction for the team, the UFL and its broadcasting partner, Versus.