PITTSFORD, N.Y. — Terrell Owens wants Michael Vick to be reinstated immediately by the NFL, and said any extension of the quarterback's suspension would be similar to "kicking a dead horse."
Speaking after the Buffalo Bills training camp practice Sunday morning, the star receiver referred to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's handling of Vick's status as "unfair." Owens also lobbied to have more of the league's high-profile players voicing their opinion in support of Vick and asked the NFL Players Association to become more involved.
"I think he's done the time for what he's done. I don't think it's really fair for him to be suspended four more games," Owens said, referring to reports that the NFL is considering to further punish Vick. "It's almost like kicking a dead horse in the ground. ... The guy's already suffered so much. And to add a four-game suspension on a two-year prison sentence, that's ridiculous."
Vick met with Goodell this week but has yet to learn when he will be allowed to resume his NFL career. The former Falcons star was suspended indefinitely in August 2007 after he admitted bankrolling a dogfighting operation.
Vick has served a 23-month federal sentence and was freed from home confinement on July 20. He must still serve three years' probation.
Owens said Vick deserves a second chance.
"Why shouldn't he? I mean, there's a lot more guys around the league that have done far more worst things than that and gotten second chances," Owens said.
Owens said he would welcome Vick as a teammate.
"Michael Vick is a guy that really hasn't any character issues besides what he got a prison sentence for, so why not?" he said.
Bills safety George Wilson, the team's NFLPA representative, agreed with Owens.
"How do you bring a man out of suspension and then suspend him again? I mean, he's paid his debt," Wilson said. "I think you just continue to hold him down by bringing him back and then suspend him."
Wilson said he intends to discuss Vick's status with Owens and other teammates to determine whether to bring the Bills players' position to the union.
"We'll see where it goes, but I think Terrell is right in stating his position," Wilson said. "This is an instance where perhaps our players association needs to try to get involved."
The union's position has been that it will support Vick on a personal level until Goodell decides how to proceed. NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith met with Vick this past week, and intends to discuss the player's status with Goodell.
The Bills have declined comment on discussing Vick.
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