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Attorneys wheel in a load of material for the second day of the bankruptcy hearing for former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick at the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Newport News, Va. on Friday. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Attorneys wheel in a load of material for the second day of the bankruptcy hearing for former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick at the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Newport News, Va. on Friday. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. â Suspended NFL star Michael Vick told a bankruptcy court on Friday that his time in prison has given him a chance to think, and he’s realized he needs to make some changes.

The ex-Atlanta Falcons quarterback, who is serving a 23-month prison sentence for bankrolling a dogfighting operation, said he knows he committed a “heinous” act that was very irresponsible.

“I can’t live like the old Mike Vick,” he told a courtroom filled with his family, friends and fiancee. “I was very immature. I did a lot of things I wasn’t supposed to do being a role model.”

In prison, he’s filled his days by reading, writing, playing basketball and working a 12-cent-an-hour job as a janitor, he said. The experience has given him a chance to develop he called “an exit strategy.”

Vick is testifying as part of a hearing to evaluate his plan to emerge from financial ruin. He was once one of the NFL’s highest-paid players, but lavish spending and poor investments, coupled with the backlash from his dogfighting case, led to his downfall. Vick filed for bankruptcy in July claiming assets of $16 million and debts of more than $20 million.

His plan to pay his creditors is based largely on the goal of returning to a professional football career.

Vick is expected to be released from custody in July, and traveled from a federal prison in Kansas to attend the hearing. He could be transferred to home confinement at his eastern Virginia home by late May, and his agent testified Thursday that he hopes Vick can return to the NFL by September.

In order for that to happen, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would have to reinstate Vick, who was suspended indefinitely after he was indicted on the dogfighting conspiracy charge in 2007. Goodell has said he would consider Vick’s case after his release.

Vick’s agent, Joel Segal, said on the stand Thursday that he would try to negotiate a short-term contract filled with incentives for playing time and starts that could bring in millions. He also said Vick has agreed to plans for a television documentary that will pay him $600,000.

Earlier this week, Vick and the Falcons agreed he would repay $6.5 million of his Atlanta contract, moving closer to cutting ties with a team that doesn’t want him. Segal said he hasn’t spoken to teams because Vick is still under contract with the Falcons, but that he is in shape and will be prepared for his return.

“There will be determination like we’ve never seen before to be structured and disciplined,” Segal said.

When he is sent to home confinement, Vick will have a 40-hour-a-week, $10-an-hour job at one of W.M. Jordan Co.’s 40 commercial construction jobs, said John Robert Lawson, whose father helped start the Newport News company.

Lawson, 57, said that he has known Vick for more than 10 years and that they have been involved in charitable work together. He said Vick’s representatives approached him when the former hometown hero was turned away by other employers.

“I believe all of us make mistakes, and once you’ve fulfilled your commitment and paid the price, you should be given a second chance,” Lawson said in a telephone interview. “He’s not a bad person. He made some bad choices.”

Archived comments

Does he think he’ll ever be an NFL caliber QB?


4/3/2009 11:17:00 AM



4/3/2009 11:39:42 AM

My gut reaction is that he should have been given more time to “think” after the horrible things he did to those poor dogs, and his involvement with dog fighting in general.

If this change of heart is sincere, that’s great – hope he can make a big difference.But if this is just a ploy to get him back out and playing football again, well…not so much.

Time will tell.

4/3/2009 11:51:41 AM

I think this is nothing more than window dressing and is not sincere. I’ve never heard Vick apologize for torturing and brutalizing innocent animals. I have read of people who abused people, they started with animals. Anyone who wants Vick to represent them in public for any reason may find the backlash worse than any “good” Vick might do in the future. If Vick ever put on a Broncos uniform then I think we should ask the team ownership to refund all the tax dollars we all paid to build the ridiculous stadium for the millionaires to play in and then take their sorry team and leave town.


4/3/2009 12:28:33 PM

He had time to think when he was on the outside too, time to think about how to brutalize and exploit. Michael Vic is infected with exactly the same sort of pathological sickness Madoff had-greed greed greed. He’s scum and he’ll always be scum in my book.


4/3/2009 1:47:22 PM

He’ll be playing for the Broncos next year.


4/3/2009 2:02:10 PM

“prison has given him a chance to think” – It is interesting that he needed the jail time to complete a thought

4/3/2009 2:12:11 PM

Michael Vick’s Thoughts

*If I bred the pit bull with the mastiff…then maybe…*


4/3/2009 2:37:11 PM

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