Michael Vick returns to the NFL Thursday, after serving prison time for running a dog fighting operation. But for Vick, he is walking into a hornets nest of hostility.
"Hide Your Dogs" was the headline in the Philadelphia Daily News when it was first announced that Vick would be joining the beloved hometown Eagles, after going to prison for animal cruelty charges.
Fan reaction to the Vick announcement has been hostile, and the Philadelphia Daily News has not let up, as they have been running a series this week on caring for your dog.
But Vick's life has been ruined. Once a multi-millionaire NFL star, Vick had to appear in bankruptcy court Thursday before taking the field with the Eagles.
"At this point I'm just blessed to have the opportunity to be here with this organization," Vick said at an Eagles press conference. "I'm just here to contribute and win the Super Bowls."
Those close to Vick said his experience has brought him into a close relationship with Christ. And Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, also a Christian, stands behind him.
"I believe everybody deserves a second chance," McNabb said. "And I have strong faith in God that he forgives our sins and gives us an opportunity to move on in a positive light to continue to inspire others."
Eagles coach Andy Reid agrees.
"I've always said to the people of Philadelphia that I will try to bring in the best players who can help our football team achieve that highest goal, and that's the super bowl," Reid said.
America has been called the land of redemption, where almost everyone gets a second chance.
But fans have been slow to forgive Vick, and it looks as if in the short term at least, he is going to continue to pay for his crime.