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Thursday, July 23, 2009
Updated: July 24, 10:55 AM ET
Sources: Vick can sign, may sit 4 games

ESPN.com news services

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell may be close to reaching a decision on Michael Vick, NFL sources told ESPN.

Michael Vick
Sources told ESPN's Sal Paolantonio and Chris Mortensen that Michael Vick is expected to be conditionally reinstated to the NFL some time next week.

League sources told ESPN's Sal Paolantonio and Chris Mortensen on Thursday that sometime next week Goodell is expected to announce a conditional reinstatement of Vick, which would allow Vick to go to training camp if he signed with a team but that could also include a four-game suspension.

"Can we suspend him in basically double jeopardy?" asked the league source. "That's the question."

Goodell already had given Vick an indefinite suspension that ran concurrent with the 23-month federal prison sentence and home confinement stemming from Vick's role in an illegal dogfighting ring.

According to a source close to Vick, the former Falcons quarterback is hoping to receive no additional punishment. A four-game suspension likely would inhibit his ability to catch on with an NFL team. No teams have expressed interest in bringing Vick in for a tryout as of yet.

As part of the deal, Goodell is reserving judgement in the event of any further transgressions from Vick.

"This is a serious matter. We are engaging in a careful and thoughtful process and no decisions have been made," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said.

Earlier Thursday, SI.com first reported that Vick and Goodell met for three hours Wednesday afternoon in Allendale, N.J., at a small security firm.

Vick apologized to Goodell, especially for lying to him in 2007 when Vick denied being involved in any dogfighting ring, according to league sources, who described the meeting to Paolantonio and Mortensen as very cordial but tense.

One league source said Thursday that Goodell did not necessarily need to hear that apology.

"The commissioner has said many times, 'This is not about me,' " the source said.

Vick -- once the NFL's highest-paid player -- was joined at Wednesday's meeting by his legal and personal advisers, including agent Joel Segal.

Vick was released from federal custody Monday after finishing the home confinement portion of his sentence at his home in Hampton, Va.

SI.com reported Thursday that both Vick and Goodell were spotted leaving the offices of Buckley Petersen Global Inc. separately at 4 p.m. ET. Vick exited in a Cadillac Escalade; Goodell departed approximately 10 minutes later in a BMW.

According to eyewitnesses, both Vick and Goodell were described as looking "somber" after leaving the meeting.

NFL training camps are set to open next week and this deal could free Vick to pursue an NFL contract that would allow him to begin to alleviate his massive debts. Vick declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July 2008, a little more than three years after he signed a then-record 10-year, $130 million deal with the Atlanta Falcons.

A handful of teams have publicly declared they have no interest in Vick, citing a multitude of concerns.

Giants owner John Mara and Jets owner Woody Johnson were emphatic in saying their teams' quarterback positions were filled.

"On a lot of levels, no," Mara said when asked if the Giants had any interest in Vick, adding that there wasn't even any discussion or debate in the front office.

Despite the competition to replace Brett Favre, Johnson said the Jets also weren't interested.

"We've got Kellen Clemens and now we have this young Mark Sanchez, and I think we are good on quarterbacks," Johnson said, adding that the Jets also didn't see Vick as an option.

Vick admitted to bankrolling Bad Newz Kennels on his estate in Virginia and assisting in the killing of dogs who performed poorly in practice fights.

Information from ESPN's Chris Mortensen and Sal Paolantonio and The Associated Press was used in this report.