Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Agent says Vick to focus on family
By Chris Mortensen ESPN.com
The agent for Michael Vick said Tuesday that the quarterback "will place football on the back burner" during his immediate home confinement and that there are no meetings scheduled with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss reinstatement for the 2009 season.
"Michael's looking forward to reacquainting himself with his family, his fiancée, Kiafa, his children and his mom," Joel Segal, Vick's agent, said. "When he gets home, that's his priority, along with reinserting himself into society and being a positive influence in his community. This is going to be a special time for him, just being around family."
Segal said Vick has not formally hired a trainer but added, "At the appropriate time, he will hire one. Football will happen. But right now, it's not his priority. It's one day at a time."
Segal confirmed he has had talks with the league office during Vick's incarceration, but that it was more "about keeping open the line of communication. There's nothing set with the commissioner and, as I said, Michael's focus right now is on family."
Vick, who is serving an indefinite suspension imposed by Goodell, clearly wants an opportunity to play this season, Segal confirmed.
"It's just not appropriate for that to be the first priority in his life and he has told me that himself," Segal said. "However, he's paid his debt to society and like every American who has made mistakes, even criminal mistakes, he deserves a second chance. He realizes the severity of his mistakes."
At the NFL owners meetings Tuesday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Goodell said he will not make any decision on Vick until his full sentence runs its course.
Goodell has said that he wants Vick to demonstrate remorse for his actions in order to be reinstated. Asked what Vick must do to demonstrate remorse, he said: "I think that's going to be up to Michael. Michael is going to have to demonstrate to the public and the fans ... what he's learned [during his imprisonment]."
Segal declined to comment on whether Vick would speak publicly once he reaches his home, but sources have said it is likely the quarterback -- whose rights are still held by the Atlanta Falcons -- will have something to say, possibly by Friday.
"One thing Michael has told me is that he knows action speaks louder than words right now," Segal said. "He knows that no matter what he says, he just can't talk the talk. He's got to walk to walk and first and foremost, he wants to do that with family, then the community. He is going to focus on those priorities and do the right thing."
Segal declined to reveal the exact time of Vick's release from federal prison in Leavenworth, Kan. He is expected to be released within 24 hours to home confinement through July 20, when he will no longer be under federal custody.
ESPN has learned federal marshals have confirmed to a former federal Vick prosecutor that Vick is still on track to return to Hampton, Va., on Wednesday.
Vick is funding a portion of his plane flight home. He will then be required to report to probation within 72 hours of his return and will be supervised out of the Norfolk, Va., probation office.
Goodell said he has yet to speak with former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy about Dungy's recent visit with Vick, saying they have traded phone calls but have yet to reach each other directly.
"I've never been shy about input from others if it can help," Goodell added when asked whether character references for Vick would inform his decision. "If someone's got information, I welcome it."
Chris Mortensen is a senior NFL analyst for ESPN. ESPN.com senior NFL writer Len Pasquarelli contributed to this report.