Vick's show for needed dough

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If Jon and Kate, Khloe Kardashian and Simon Cowell can make it in reality television, why not Michael Vick?

If Vick remains tens of millions in debt, why not risk caricature in hopes of making a buck or three?

If Americans will tune into David Letterman's confessions, Glenn Beck's rants and Keith Olbermann's countdowns, why not Vick's attempted makeover?

If Vick loathes mainstream media, as many public figures do, why not control his own message?

Please don't misinterpret. "The Michael Vick Project," an eight-part docu-series set to air in early 2010 on BET, is not the best idea since DVR. Nor should Vick and his producers clear space on their mantels for Emmys.

But given his financial and image issues, Vick doesn't have beaucoup options.

Yes, the Philadelphia Eagles are paying him $1.6 million to play football this season. And yes, the team's front office is supporting his personal rehabilitation.

But this marriage could be shorter-term than Greg Norman- Chris Evert. Vick was away from the game for nearly three years, an unprecedented absence for an NFL athlete of his caliber, and if he doesn't approach previous form, the Eagles will send him packing rather than exercise their $5.2-million option for next season.

After all, football is business, not charity.

Given that uncertainty, Vick owes it to himself and his family, not to mention his creditors, to explore any potential revenue sources.

Hey, if the Sarah Palin-autographed Xbox console fetches its $1.1-million asking price on eBay, imagine the possibilities for Vick.

Signed Ron Mexico jerseys for the bargain-basement price of $100,000.

Michael Vick designer jumpsuits — available in assorted colors and sizes.

A how-not-to book on choosing financial advisors.

An instructional DVD on converting a water bottle into a bong — blue ray version offered for $10 extra.

Personal driving lessons from Marcus Vick.

I can hear Vick fans now. "You're piling on. Stop referencing his dogfighting, jail time and other legal/ethical entanglements. Just write about Michael Vick the quarterback."

In time, such protests might have resonated. Not now. If Vick is voluntarily rehashing his past for profit, then such history is absolutely fair game for media, fans and critics.

Vick also must make sure that any reality revenue stream does not become a tidal wave of bad press. His crimes are unforgivable to some, and if the camera ever catches him in a less-than-contrite moment, the fallout will be considerable.

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