Thursday, August 23, 2007
Updated: August 24, 12:37 PM ET
Source: Vick will not admit to killing dogs or gambling on dog fights
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick will not admit to killing dogs or gambling on dog fights, as detailed in his indictment, when he enters a guilty plea in a Richmond, Va., federal court Monday, a source close to the case has told ESPN. Instead, the one count of conspiracy that Vick will plead to will admit guilt to the charge of interstate commerce for the purpose of dogfighting.
The source told ESPN that Vick's defense team met with federal attorneys Thursday afternoon to determine the "summary of facts" to which Vick will plead, and that his attorneys believed they had a deal. The source said Vick maintains he never killed dogs and never gambled on a dog fight.
He will admit he was present when dogs were killed, but that he did not personally kill any of the dogs.
The allegations of killing dogs and gambling were part of the picture painted by Vick's three co-defendants, all of whom have pleaded guilty.
Vick, 27, is scheduled to enter his plea agreement Monday and could face up to five years in prison.
Vick's co-defendants said Vick provided virtually all the gambling and operating funds for the Bad Newz Kennels enterprise. Two of them also said
Vick participated in executing at least eight dogs seen as underperforming by various means, including drowning and hanging.
A government official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the terms are not final, told The Associated Press Wednesday that prosecutors will recommend a sentence of one year to 18 months. However, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson is not bound by that recommendation or
by federal sentencing guidelines that will call for less than the five-year maximum.
It's still unclear whether all this will end the career of one of the NFL's most dazzling players.
Vick has been barred from training camp by the NFL, and commissioner Roger Goodell has asked the Falcons not to take any action until the league rules.
Goodell can suspend Vick under the NFL's personal conduct policy. While the league hasn't said whether a potential suspension
would be concurrent with Vick's prison sentence, it probably would take effect once he is released from custody.
That means Vick likely would miss both the 2007 and 2008 seasons.
The Falcons in 2004 signed Vick to a 10-year, $130 million contract, at the time, one of the largest in NFL history. The bonus and guaranteed money he received in his contract totaled $44 million, and the team could try to reclaim part of that.
Vick has also lost lucrative contracts with sponsors. Rawlings, Nike, Reebok and Upper Deck are among the companies that have either ended contracts with him or stopped sales of his
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.