|ESPN.com: NFL Nation||[Print without images]|
Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
Michael Vick's home confinement ended Monday, but that doesn't mean his sentence is over.
Although Vick completed the home confinement and a stint in prison as part of his legal obligation, that doesn't mean he'll step right back into the NFL. The former Atlanta quarterback still is suspended by the league and it's anybody's guess how long that will last.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell ultimately will make the decision on if and when Vick will return, and Goodell has pretty strong latitude on this one. Goodell's already made it very clear that he will not reinstate Vick unless the quarterback shows genuine remorse for his involvement in dogfighting.
Keep the word "genuine" in mind because Goodell and Falcons owner Arthur Blank weren't very happy when Vick initially denied involvement in the dogfighting ring and details showing he was very involved emerged later on.
Blank has cut ties to Vick. But Goodell has a major decision to make and it's a pretty safe bet he'll rule on that some time before the start of the season. Look for a face-to-face meeting between Goodell and Vick in the coming weeks, and the former quarterback better put on a strong show if he is to have any chance to play in the NFL this season.
The whole episode was a big embarrassment to the NFL, and Goodell has taken a hard-line stance about off-field problems. Also, I'm not sure NFL teams are going to be lining up to sign Vick and all the baggage that will come with him.
I'm just guessing here, but I wouldn't be surprised if Goodell makes Vick wait a bit longer. Again, this is just my guess, but I say Vick ends up in the new United Football League (with the Orlando franchise) for this season. If all goes well, I say Vick will be back in the NFL in 2010.