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Star Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick's promising career has been tainted by illegal activities including involvement in an illegal dog-fighting ring.
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In May 2009, Vick was ordered to pay the Royal Bank of Canada more than $2.5 million for defaulting on a loan connected to a real estate venture. A week later a second order—this one for $1.1 million—was issued in favor of Wachovia Bank on loan default for a failed restaurant. The following May, the U.S. Department of Labor filed a complaint that accused Vick of spending $1.3 million from a pension plan associated with a celebrity-marketing firm he owned.
That same month the 28-year-old Vick,
who had shaved a few months off his sentence for entering a drug treatment program, was released from federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas, and returned home to Virginia, where he was scheduled to serve two months of home confinement.
Vick, who believes he can play another 10 or 12 years of professional football, was clearly interested in returning to the NFL upon his release from Leavenworth. Speculation soon swirled about possible landing spots for the QB, who in early June was officially cut from the Falcons. The league still had not lifted his suspension, and football experts at the time were far from certain of how things would play out. What was clear was that Vick—who filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and was on a three-year probation—not only wanted to play, but needed to play.
In July of 2009, the NFL announced that Vick would be considered for full reinstatement, and would be scheduled to play in regular-season games by October. Under the agreement, Vick would be allowed to participate in practices, workouts and meetings and may play in his club's final two preseason games. During this time he will remain a free agent.
In exchange, Vick will be monitored by former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, who has served as Vick's mentor. NFL officials will also receive regular reports from Vick's probation officer as well as outside professionals and psychiatrists in an ongoing evaluation of the athlete's ability to compete.
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