Vick Back, Strings Attached
Michael Vick is officially looking for work again.
The former Atlanta Falcons quarterback was conditionally reinstated to the NFL on Monday, critical to restoring a career derailed by his role in dogfighting that resulted in him serving a 20-month sentence.
Vick, 29, could be fully reinstated by the sixth week of the regular season, pending further review. He is cleared to practice immediately and can play in the final two games of the preseason.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, announcing the decision a week after Vick completed two months of home confinement, also mandated that Vick comply with requirements covered in his supervised release from federal custody. He's on three years' probation.
Goodell sought outside input and presided over a four-hour hearing last week. He also had two one-on-one sessions with Vick.
"I believe he is sincere in his remorse," Goodell said.
Another key was former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy agreeing to serve as a formal mentor. Dungy, who works with prison ministry, developed a relationship with Vick in recent months.
Goodell said that given the intense scrutiny and potential backlash from animal rights groups, it was necessary to underscore a need for "the proper kind of guidance."
Goodell added: "We are not looking for failure. We're looking to see a young man succeed."
Vick, suspended since August 2007, said in a statement: "I fully understand that playing football in the NFL is a privilege, not a right, and I am truly thankful for the opportunity. . . . As you can imagine, the last two years have given me time to revaluate my life, mature as an individual and fully understand the terrible mistakes I made in the past and what type of life I must lead moving forward."
Agent Joel Segal begins the task of finding a team to sign Vick.
"He's excited but, in the same vein, he also understands there's a lot more to prove," Segal said. "It's one day at a time."