NFL News of September 10, 2003

The Broncos haven’t won the AFC West since John Elway‘s retirement, but things could be worse.

Michael Vick could be in the division.

In fact, he almost was. If the Atlanta Falcons hadn’t caved in and agreed to include Tim Dwight in the package, the San Diego Chargers may not have traded the first pick in the 2001 NFL draft. The Chargers would have used the pick on Vick. In the aftermath of the deal, they got the fifth pick, which they converted into LaDainian Tomlinson.

Little did they know they would get Drew Brees, the quarterback they had ranked below Vick, in the second round. Tomlinson has emerged into a franchise back and Brees is coming off a solid first season as a starter. Good thing. If not for their development, the Chargers’ front office would never hear the end of it from second-

guessers wondering how they could have passed on Vick.

“Not at all,” said Chargers general manager A.J. Smith, when asked if he had second thoughts about the trade. “We were committed to Vick, but, after Atlanta called, we went down other roads. It’s worked out well for both of us. They got their quarterback and we got a great running back. And the quarterback we got has a chance to be something special, too.”

—Jim Armstrong, The Denver Post “Chargers content with Brees at QB Trade cost chance to draft Vick”

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