Michael Vick, recently reinstated to the NFL after being freed from federal prison after a dogfighting-related conviction, has signed a two-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles, according to his agent, Joel Segal.
The former Atlanta Falcons quarterback reports to Philadelphia on Friday, Segal told CNN. Details of the deal were not immediately available Thursday night. The league suspended Vick indefinitely in August 2007 after he pleaded guilty to a federal charge of bankrolling a dogfighting operation at a home he owned in Virginia. Vick, 29, was freed from federal prison at Leavenworth, Kansas, on May 20 and returned to his home to serve the last two months of his 23-month sentence in home confinement. The Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said Thursday night in a statement it was “incredibly disappointed” at the news of Vick’s signing. “Philadelphia is a city of dog lovers and most particularly, pit bull lovers,” said Susan Cosby, the organization’s chief executive officer. “To root for someone who participated in the hanging, drowning, electrocution and shooting of dogs will be impossible for many, no matter how much we would all like to see the Eagles go all the way.” However, Ed Sayres, president and CEO of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said in a statement that “Commissioner Roger Goodell and the Philadelphia Eagles have granted Michael Vick a second chance, and the ASPCA expects Mr. Vick to express remorse for his actions, as well as display more compassion and sound judgment this time around than he did during his previous tenure with the NFL.”
NFL reinstates Michael Vick on conditional basis
“We hope that Mr. Vick uses his stature for the betterment of the community and the advancement of the issue of animal cruelty,” Sayres said. Eagles head coach Andy Reid told reporters he knows there are some fans that will not accept Vick. “I understand how that works,” he said. “But there’s enough of them that will, and then it’s up to Michael to prove that that change has taken place. I think he’s there. That’s what he wants to do.” He said Vick “seems very focused, and he wants to get his career back on track.” The NFL reinstated Vick on a conditional basis last month. Vick “will be considered for full reinstatement and to play in regular-season games by Week 6 based on the progress he makes in his transition plan,” the NFL said in a statement last month. Week 6 of the NFL season is in October. Vick may participate in practices, workouts and meetings and may play in his club’s final two preseason games under the conditions of his reinstatement, the league said last month. “I fully understand that playing football in the NFL is a privilege, not a right, and I am truly thankful for [the] opportunity I have been given,” Vick said in a statement last month upon his reinstatement. “As you can imagine, the last two years have given me time to re-evaluate 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,” he said in last month’s statement. Former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy has agreed to continue working with Vick as an adviser and mentor, the NFL said. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters last month that Vick underwent tests, including a psychiatric evaluation, after requests from animal rights groups. Vick has also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. At a hearing in that case, he told the judge he earned 12 cents an hour as an overnight janitor while in prison. Court documents released in Vick’s case showed that two of his co-defendants, who also pleaded guilty as part of a plea deal, said Vick helped kill dogs that didn’t fight well, and that all three men “executed approximately eight dogs” in ways that included hanging and drowning. The dogs were killed because they fared poorly in “testing” sessions held at Vick’s property. The Humane Society of the United States has said Vick offered to work with the organization on anti-dogfighting campaigns. Wayne Pacelle, the organization’s president, has said Vick was to work on programs aimed at preventing youths from getting involved in dogfighting and on programs to assist youths who have already been involved. In testimony before the bankruptcy judge, Vick acknowledged committing a “heinous” act and said he should have acted more maturely. In November, Vick pleaded guilty to a state dogfighting charge and received a three-year suspended sentence. The Eagles are scheduled to play Vick’s former team, the Falcons, in Atlanta on December 6.