No one has been more surprised by all the attention Mike Francesa's (tentative) radio partnership with Michael Vick has received than Francesa himself.
"It's amazing how much publicity it's gotten," he said Saturday.
Of course, that was a big part of the reason he expressed interest in having Vick on every week in the first place. "He gets a response; people are interested in him," Francesa said.
So much so that Vick fielded no fewer than nine questions from reporters Friday related to his (tentative) Tuesday afternoon appearances on Francesa's WFAN show this season.
Francesa was vaguely aware of Vick's answers before he went off the air Friday, but he did not see the full transcript of the backup quarterback's comments until later, including Vick saying that although he plans to be on the radio this coming Tuesday, he does not necessarily plan to be on every Tuesday, as his contract calls for him to be.
"We're going to knock this Tuesday out and then maybe sometime later on in the year, but it remains to be talked about," Vick said.
Not so fast, Francesa said.
"If he thinks it's going to be every couple of weeks or every couple of months, it's not going to work," he said. "If he wants to do it on a weekly basis, I welcome that. If not, this will be a one-time deal and thanks for the memories."Francesa also read what Vick said Friday about whether Francesa might get him riled up: "I can get him riled up. You can't rile me. You see what I go through every Sunday? You can't rile me with words."
Francesa agreed, saying, "I didn't take that seriously. That guy can handle anything that's thrown at him . . . An interview is not going to bother him. I just need him to show up."
Vick and Francesa still have not met or spoken to each other. WFAN operations manager Mark Chernoff struck the deal with Vick's agent after ascertaining that Francesa would be interested in having him on.
"I always thought the Jets would put the kibosh on it because it was me," said Francesa, who has had a strained relationship with the team in recent years. "Obviously, they didn't."
Now Vick appears to be having second thoughts.
"Listen, all I expect him to do is explain his role with the team and give me his view of how the team played, and if he participates, we obviously want to discuss his participation," Francesa said. "I don't know if he's getting cold feet or if he is getting some pushback from the organization, I have no idea. I have no way of knowing that . . . I hope he shows up."