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Michael Dwayne Vick (born June 26, 1980) is a professional American football quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League. He played for the Atlanta Falcons for six seasons before serving 18 months in prison for his involvement in an illegal dog fighting ring.

Vick played college football at Virginia Tech, where as a freshman he placed third in the Heisman Trophy balloting. He left after his sophomore year to enter the NFL and was drafted first overall by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2001 NFL Draft. In six seasons with the Falcons, he gained wide popularity for his performance on the field, and led the Falcons to the playoffs twice. Vick ranks third among quarterbacks in career rushing yards.

In April 2007, Vick was implicated in an extensive and illegal interstate dog fighting ring that had operated over a period of five years. In August 2007, he pleaded guilty to federal felony charges and was sent to prison for 23 months. With the loss of his NFL salary and product endorsement deals, combined with previous financial mismanagement, Vick filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July 2008.

Vick was transferred from prison to home confinement in May 2009. Falcons owner Arthur Blank did not want Vick on the Falcons, and after attempts to trade him failed, Vick was released. He signed with the Philadelphia Eagles and was reinstated in Week 3 of the 2009 season.

Childhood

Vick is the second of four children born in Newport News, Virginiamarker to Brenda Vick and Michael Boddie, then unmarried teenagers. His mother worked two jobs, obtained some public financial assistance, and had help from her parents, while his father worked long hours in the shipyards as a sandblaster and spray-painter. They were married when Michael was about five years old, but the children elected to continue to use their "Vick" surname. The family lived in the Ridley Circle Homes, a public housing project in a financially depressed and crime-ridden neighborhood located in the East End section of the port city. A 2007 newspaper article published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch noted "not much changed" by observations of local people almost ten years after Michael Vick left. One resident said that there was drug dealing, drive-by shootings and other killings in the neighborhood, then suggested that sports were a way out and a dream for many.

In a 2001 interview, Vick told the Newport News Daily Press that when he was 10 or 11, "I would go fishing even if the fish weren't biting, just to get" away from the violence and stress of daily life in the projects.

Early athletic career

During the early years of his family, Michael Boddie’s employment required a lot of travel, but he taught football skills to his two sons at an early age. Vick was only three years old when his father, nicknamed "Bullet" for his blinding speed during his own playing days, began teaching him the fundamentals. He taught younger brother Marcus Vick.

As he grew up, Vick, who as a child went by the nickname "Ookie", learned about football from a second cousin four years older, Aaron Brooks. Vick and Brooks both spent a lot of time as youths at the local Boys and Girls Club. As a 10-year-old throwing three touchdown passes in a Boys Club league, his apparent football talents led coaches and his parents to keep special watch.

Vick told Sporting News magazine in an interview published April 9, 2001: "Sports kept me off the streets...It kept me from getting into what was going on, the bad stuff. Lots of guys I knew have had bad problems."

High school

Vick first came to prominence while at Homer L. Ferguson High School in Newport News. As a freshman, he impressed many with his athletic ability, throwing for over 400 yards in a game that year. Ferguson High School was closed in 1996 as part of a Newport News Public Schools building modernization program. Vick, as a sophomore, and Tommy Reamon both moved to Warwick High Schoolmarker.

At Warwick High School, under Reamon's tutelage, Vick was a three-year starter for the Raiders, passing for 4,846 yards with 43 touchdowns. He ran for six touchdowns and threw for three touchdowns in a single game. He added 1,048 yards and 18 scores on the ground. As a senior, he passed for 1,668 yards, accounting for ten passing and ten rushing touchdowns.

Reamon, who had helped guide Brooks from Newport News to the University of Virginiamarker, helped Michael with his SAT tests and helped him and his family choose between Syracuse Universitymarker and Virginia Techmarker. Reamon favored Virginia Tech, where he felt better guidance was available under Frank Beamer, who promised to redshirt him and provide the freshman needed time to develop. Reamon sold Michael on the school's proximity to family and friends, and Vick chose to attend Virginia Tech.

As he left the Newport News public housing projects in 1998, "on the wings of a college football scholarship," Vick was seen in the Newport News community as a "success story." In a story published in September 2000, while Vick was at Virginia Tech, Michael Boddie told the university's Collegiate Times: "Ever since he learned to throw a football, he's always liked throwing a ball...It's just in his blood."

College career

In his first collegiate game as a redshirt freshman against James Madison in 1999, Vick scored three rushing touchdowns in just over one quarter of play. His last touchdown was a spectacular flip in which he landed awkwardly on his ankle, forcing him to miss the remainder of the game in addition to the following game. During the season, Vick led a last-minute game-winning drive against in the annual Black Diamond Trophy game. He led the Hokies to an 11-0 season and to the Bowl Championship Series national title game in the Nokia Sugar Bowl against Florida State. Although Virginia Tech lost 46-29, Vick was able to bring the team back from a 21 point deficit to take a brief lead. During the season, Vick appeared on the cover of an ESPN The Magazine issue.

Vick led the NCAA in passing efficiency that year, setting a record for a freshman (180.4), which was good enough for the third-highest all-time mark. Vick was awarded an ESPY Award as the nation's top college player and won the first-ever Archie Griffin Award as college football's most valuable player. He was invited to the 1999 Heisman Trophy presentation and finished third in the voting behind Ron Dayne and Joe Hamilton. Vick's third place finish matched the highest finish ever by a freshman up to that point, first set by Herschel Walker in 1980.
Lane Stadium, where Vick played his college games.
Vick's 2000 season had highlights, such as his career rushing high of 210 yards against the Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusettsmarker. Against West Virginia Universitymarker in the Black Diamond Trophy game, Vick accounted for 288 total yards of offense and two touchdowns in a 48-20 win. The following week, Vick led the Hokies from a 14-0 deficit against at the Carrier Domemarker, where the Hokies had not won since 1986. Vick put the game away with a 55-yard run with 1:34 left.

The following game against , Vick was injured and had to miss the rest of the game as well as the entire game against , and was unable to start against the , the Hokies' lone loss of the season. Vick's final game at Virginia Tech came against the in the Toyota Gator Bowl, where he was named MVP of the game.

Vick left Virginia Tech after his redshirt sophomore season. Aware that the rest of his family was still living in their 3 bedroom apartment in the Ridley Circle Homes, Vick stated that he was going to buy his mother "a home and a car." ESPN later reported that Vick used some of his NFL and endorsement earnings to buy his mother a brand-new house in an upscale section of Suffolk, Virginiamarker.

Statistics

Year Comp Att Comp % Passing TD INT Carries Rushing TD
1999 90 153 58.8 1840 12 5 110 580 8
2000 97 179 54.2 1439 9 7 113 636 9


Professional career

NFL Draft

Vick was selected first in the 2001 NFL Draft. The San Diego Chargers had the number one selection but traded the rights to the first overall choice to the Atlanta Falcons a day before the draft, for which they received the Falcons' first round pick (5th overall) and third round pick in 2001. Vick was drafted in the 30th round of the 2000 MLB Draft by the Colorado Rockies, despite not playing baseball at Virginia Tech.

Vick and teammate RB Warrick Dunn (1,140) became the first quarterback/running back duo to each surpass 1,000 rushing yards in a single season.

Early NFL career

Vick as a Falcon in 2006
made his NFL debut at San Francisco on September 9, 2001 and saw limited action. He completed his first NFL pass to WR Tony Martin in the second quarter vs. Carolina on September 23 and first NFL touchdown on a two-yard rushing score in the fourth quarter to help the Falcons to a 24-16 victory. Vick made his first start at Dallas on November 11 and threw his first touchdown pass to TE Alge Crumpler in a 20-13 victory. In his two starts of the eight games played that season, Vick completed 50 of 113 passes for 785 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions, accounting for 234 of the team's 255 yards at the team’s season finale at St. Louis on January 6, 2002. He rushed 29 times for 289 yards (9.9 avg.) and one touchdown.In 2002, Vick was named to the Pro Bowl after starting 15 games, missing a game to the New York Giants on October 13 with a sprained shoulder. He completed 231 of 421 passes for 2,936 yards (both career-highs) and 16 touchdowns with 113 carries for 777 yards and eight touchdowns. Vick established numerous single-game career highs, including passes completed with 24 and pass attempts with 46 at Pittsburgh on November 10, as well as passing yards with 337 vs. Detroit on December 22. He completed 74 yards for a touchdown to WR Trevor Gaylor vs. New Orleans on November 17. Vick registered an NFL record for most rushing yards by a quarterback in a single a game with 173 at Minnesota on December 1. Vick tied for third in team history for the lowest interception percentage in a season at 1.90 and continued a streak of consecutive passes without an interception that began at St. Louis on January 6, 2002 in the season finale of the 2001 season and extended to the first quarter vs. Baltimore on November 3, 2002. His streak covered 25 straight quarters and 177 passes without an interception. On January 1, 2003, Vick led the Atlanta Falcons to an upset victory over the heavily favored Green Bay 27-7 in the NFC playoffs, ending the Packers' undefeated playoff record at Lambeau Fieldmarker. The Falcons would later lose 20-6 to the Donovan McNabb-led Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC divisional playoff game.

2003-2006 seasons

Michael Vick drops back to pass against the Lions.
During a preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens on August 16, Vick suffered a fractured right fibula and missed the first 11 games of the regular season. In Week 13, Vick made his season debut in relief of QB Doug Johnson in the third quarter at Houston on November 30, completing 8 of 11 passes for 60 yards and recording 16 rushing yards on three carries. He posted his first start of the season vs. Carolina on December 7 and amassed the third-highest rushing total by a quarterback in NFL history with 141 yards on 14 carries and one score to lead the Falcons to a 21-14 victory. He completed 16 of 33 passes for 179 yards and accounted for 320 of the team's 380 offensive yards. Vick closed out the season with a 21–14 victory vs. Jacksonville on December 28, where he completed 12 of 22 passes for 180 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
Michael Vick passing while on the run.
In 2004, Vick was named to his second Pro Bowl after starting 15 games, completing 181 of 321 passes for 2,313 yards with 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He rushed 120 times for 902 yards and three scores. His 902 rushing yards ranked third all-time by NFL QBs. His 7.5 yards per carry rank first among all NFL players.
Only Randall Cunningham and Steve Young have more rushing yards at the quarterback position than Vick. He is first among quarterbacks in rushing yards per game at 53.5. Vick holds several NFL quarterback rushing records, including most rushing yards in one game (173), most 100-yard rushing games (7), and most rushing yards in a single season (1,039).

Endorsements

During his NFL career, Vick became a spokesperson for many companies; his endorsement contracts included Nikemarker, EA Sports, Coca-Cola, Powerade, Kraft, Rawlings, Hasbro and AirTran.

Before the animal cruelty case surfaced in 2007, Vick's corporate status had deteriorated. Among the negative incidents was his middle finger gesture to Atlanta football fans in 2006.

Suspension

In August 2007, hours after Vick pleaded guilty to federal charges in the Bad Newz Kennels dog fighting investigation, the NFL suspended him indefinitely without pay. In a letter to Vick, Commissioner Roger Goodell said that Vick had admitted to conduct that was "not only illegal, but also cruel and reprehensible." While Vick is technically a first-time offender under the NFL's Personal Conduct Policy, Goodell handed down a harsher suspension because Vick admitted that he provided most of the money for the gambling side of the operation. Goodell left open the possibility of reinstating Vick depending on how he cooperated with federal and state authorities.

Goodell had barred Vick from reporting to training camp while the league conducted its own investigation into the matter. At his July 26 arraignment, the terms of his bail barred him from leaving Virginia before the trial.

On August 27, Falcons owner Arthur Blank said in a press conference that the Falcons would seek to recover a portion of Vick's signing bonus. He said the team had no immediate plans to cut ties with Vick, citing salary-cap issues. It initially appeared that Goodell had cleared the way for the Falcons to release Vick, since he ruled that Vick's involvement in gambling activity breached his contract. On August 29, the Falcons sent a letter to Vick demanding that he reimburse them for $20 million of the $37 million bonus. The case was sent to arbitration, and on October 10, an arbitrator ruled that Vick had to reimburse the Falcons for $19.97 million. The arbitrator agreed with the Falcons' contentions that Vick knew he was engaging in illegal activity when he signed his new contract in 2004, and that he had used the bonus money to pay for the operation.

Future in football and conditional reinstatement

The prospects of Vick returning to play professional football were the subject of conjecture. After his suspension, the most serious obstacles were the length of imprisonment and possible impact of probationary restrictions afterward. Vick's federal prison sentence was set to expire July 20, 2009, although he completed his sentence under house arrest at his home in Hampton, VAmarker. The Virginia charges he faced were resolved and dropped in late 2008 with a suspended sentence.

During incarceration, Vick's financial condition rapidly deteriorated due to virtually having no income and substantial ongoing expenses for attorneys, maintaining at least 6 luxury homes in Virginia, Georgia, and Florida, and providing living expenses and about 10 vehicles for friends and relatives. With debts millions of dollars in excess of assets, and facing judgments and collection efforts by some of the creditors, his attorneys filed for federal bankruptcy protection under Chapter 13 on his behalf in July 2008.

Vick's initial reorganization plan relied upon Vick again earning a very substantial income as a professional football player, which he could not assure the court. Testifying on April 3 in Newport News, Vick told the bankruptcy court judge that he believes he can play pro football for another 10 years. His agent, Joel Segal, testified that he hopes to secure Vick a well-paying contract to play football with another NFL team after his suspension is lifted and after the Falcons release him.

Vick wanted to start the bankruptcy plan May 1, 2009 but could only demonstrate a commitment for a construction job paying approximately $20,000 per year arranged by the rector of Virginia Tech, an old friend and long-time supporter. his plan, even after divesting many assets, would have required at least $200,000 annually to maintain two of the homes in Virginia, 3 expensive vehicles, and continue to provide a comfortable living for his mother, brother, a former girlfriend and their son, and his fiancee and their two children. The plan was rejected by Judge Frank Santoro on April 3, who said the numbers simply did not work. He agreed to allow Vick time to plan a much more modest plan. Santoro was scheduled to meet with attorneys on April 28 for an update session.

Philadelphia Eagles

On August 13, 2009, Vick signed a one year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles. He will earn $1.6 million, of which no amount is guaranteed. The contract contains a team option for the 2010 season worth $5 million. Vick will be able to participate in all team practices and meetings as well as the Eagles' last two preseason games. He will be eligible to play in the third week of the regular season. He was placed on the exempt/commissioner's permission list on September 5, 2009. On September 15, 2009, Vick was activated to the 53-man roster.

Incidents, criminal troubles

Early incidents

Between his selection by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2001 NFL Draft and early 2007, Vick was allegedly involved in several incidents:
  • In 2007, statements were made by his father, Michael Boddie, about possible dogfighting activities in 2001. Boddie told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that around 2001, Vick was staging dogfights in the garage of the family's home in Newport News and kept fighting dogs in the family's backyard, including injured ones which the father nursed back to health. Boddie said his son had been urged to not engage in the activity, but continued. He stated: "This is Mike's thing. And he knows it." Within days, Vick's mother, Brenda Vick Boddie, told the Newport News Daily Press "There was no dogfighting (at our home). There were no cages."
  • In early 2004, two men were arrested in Virginia for distributing marijuana. The truck they were driving was registered to Vick. Falcons coach Dan Reeves recalled that he lectured Vick at that time on the importance of reputation, on choosing the right friends, and on staying out of trouble for the good of his team.
  • On October 10, 2004, Vick and other members of his party, including employee Quanis Phillips, were at Atlanta's Hartsfield International Airportmarker on their way to board an AirTran flight. While they were passing through a security checkpoint, a security camera caught Phillips and Todd Harris picking up an expensive-appearing watch which belonged to Alvin Spencer, a security screener. After watching the theft on a video tape, Spencer filed a police report. He claimed that Billy "White Shoes" Johnson, known as the Falcons' "fixer", interfered with the investigation. Although Vick representatives declined to make him available for an Atlanta police inquiry, six days later Spencer got the watch back from them.
  • In March 2005, Sonya Elliott filed a civil lawsuit against Vick alleging she contracted genital herpes from him in the autumn of 2002 and that he failed to inform her that he had the disease. Elliot further alleged that Vick had visited clinics under the alias "Ron Mexico" to get treatments and thus knew of his condition. On April 24, 2006, Vick's attorney, Lawrence Woodward, revealed that the lawsuit had been settled out of court under undisclosed terms. Many fans bought custom jerseys from NFL.com with Vick's number 7 and the name "MEXICO" on the back. The NFL has since banned customizing jerseys with the name Mexico.
  • November 26, 2006 – After a loss to the New Orleans Saints in the Georgia Domemarker, in apparent reaction to fans booing, Vick made an obscene gesture at fans, holding up two middle fingers. He was fined $10,000 by the NFL and agreed to donate another $10,000 to charity.
  • January 17, 2007 – Vick surrendered a water bottle which had a hidden compartment to security personnel at Miami International Airportmarker. "The compartment was hidden by the bottle's label so that it appeared to be a full bottle of water when held upright," police said. Test results indicated there were no illegal substances in the water bottle and Vick was cleared of any wrongdoing. Vick announced that the water bottle was a jewelry stash box, and that the substance in question had been jewelry.
  • On April 24, 2007, Vick was scheduled to lobby on Capitol Hillmarker, hoping to persuade lawmakers to increase funding for after-school programs. Vick missed a connecting flight in Atlantamarker on Monday to Reagan National Airportmarker in Arlington, Virginiamarker. He later failed to show up for another seat booked for him later that evening. On Tuesday morning, he did not attend his scheduled appearance at the congressional breakfast where he was to be honored for his foundation's work with after-school projects in Georgiamarker and Virginiamarker. Vick's mother Brenda accepted the award from the Afterschool Alliance.


Dog fighting investigations

A search warrant executed on April 25, 2007 as part of a drug investigation of Vick's cousin Davon Boddie led to discovery of evidence of unlawful dog fighting activities at a property owned by Vick in rural Surry Countymarker in southeastern Virginia, with extensive dogfighting facilities. Widespread media publicity quickly gained momentum as state officials investigated, soon joined by federal authorities with their own investigation. As the separate state and federal investigations progressed, more and more details of the operations of an interstate dog fighting ring were revealed, with some portions involving drugs and gambling. Gruesome details involving abuse, torture and execution of under-performing dogs galvanized animal rights activists and expressions of public outrage. Vick and several others were indicted on both federal and Virginia felony charges related to the operation.

Federal criminal prosecution

Speech by Senator Robert Bryd made to U.S.
Senate Following the Indictment of Michael Vick on federal dog fighting Charges
In July 2007, Vick and three other men were charged by federal authorities with felony charges of operating an unlawful interstate dog fighting venture known as "Bad Newz Kennelsmarker". Vick was accused of financing the operation, directly participating in dog fights and executions, and personally handling thousands of dollars in related gambling activities. Federal prosecutors indicated they intended to proceed under the powerful provisions of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), a United States federal law that provides for extended criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization.

Plea agreements, convictions
By August 20, Vick and the other three co-defendants agreed to separate plea bargains for the federal charges. They were expected to each receive federal prison sentences between 12 months and five years.

On August 24, Vick filed plea documents with the federal court. He pleaded guilty to "Conspiracy to Travel in Interstate Commerce in Aid of Unlawful Activities and to Sponsor a Dog in an Animal Fighting Venture". He admitted to providing most of the financing for the operation and to participating directly in several dog fights in Virginia, Marylandmarker, North Carolinamarker and South Carolinamarker. He admitted to sharing in the proceeds from these dog fights. He further admitted that he knew his colleagues killed several dogs who did not perform well. While he admitted to providing most of the money for gambling on the fights, he denied placing any side bets on the dogfights. He denied killing any dogs.ESPN obtained copies of the documents under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act and made them available at:

On August 27, U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson accepted Vick's guilty plea. In the scheduled December 10 sentencing, Vick faced a maximum of five years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and three years of supervised release. Prosecutors asked Hudson to sentence Vick to 12–18 months if Vick cooperated with the government as he had agreed to do in the terms of the original plea agreement. The terms of the plea agreement include a clause in which Vick forfeits his right to appeal any sentence imposed upon him. Though prosecutors asked for a lower-end sentence for Vick, Hudson could still increase the sentence up to the maximum limits; Hudson had informed two co-defendants that the brutality warranted exceeding the guidelines in their cases.

A significant portion of the plea agreement involved Vick cooperating with federal authorities pursuing other dog fighting cases and a complete allocution on his role in the Bad Newz Kennels, including detailing his role in the killing of dogs after the fights. The allocution proved to be a "sticking point," as both federal prosecutors and FBI agents reported that Vick was giving contradictory statements about how dogs were killed, what his role in the killings were, how many dogs were killed, and other details. According to reporters who spoke to Hudson after the sentencing, Vick's pre-sentencing behavior, especially during an FBI polygraph administered in October 2007 which showed that Vick was being deceptive when asked direct questions about killing dogs, was a factor in selecting the length of the sentence.

Failed drug test
While free on bail, Vick tested positive for marijuana in a random drug test. This was a violation of the conditions of his release while awaiting sentencing in federal court for his felony conviction. Vick's positive urine sample was submitted September 13, 2007, according to a document by a federal probation officer that was filed in U.S. District Court on September 26. As a result, Hudson ordered Vick confined to his Hampton, Virginiamarker home between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. with electronic monitoring until his court hearing date in December. He was ordered to submit to random drug testing.

Co-defendant Quanis Phillips was incarcerated earlier after his August 17 plea hearing because he had failed drug tests with monitoring equipment and regulations already in place.

Incarceration begins
In November, Vick turned himself in early to begin getting time-served credit against his likely federal prison sentence. He was held at Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw, Virginiamarker awaiting sentencing on the federal convictions on December 10, 2007.

Sentencing & prison
On December 10, Vick appeared in U.S. District Court in Richmond for sentencing. Judge Hudson said he was "convinced that it was not a momentary lack of judgment" on Vick's part, and that Vick was a "full partner" in the dog fighting ring, and he was sentenced to serve 23 months in federal prison. Hudson noted that, despite Vick's claims that he accepted responsibility for his actions, his failure to cooperate fully with federal officials, coupled with a failed drug test and a failed polygraph, showed that Vick had not accepted full responsibility for "promoting, funding and facilitating this cruel and inhumane sporting activity". Vick was assigned to a federal prison facility in Leavenworth, Kansasmarker to serve his sentence.

Funds to care for dogs
At the request of federal authorities before sentencing, Vick agreed to deposit nearly $1 million in an escrow account with attorneys for use to reimburse costs of caring for the confiscated dogs, most of which were being offered for adoption on a selective basis under supervision of a court-appointed specialist. Experts said some of the animals will require individual care for the rest of their lives. During his bankruptcy trial, the U.S.marker Department of Labormarker complained that these funds were paid at least partially with unlawfully withdrawn monies which Vick held in trust for himself and eight other employees of MV7, a celebrity marketing company he owns.

State criminal prosecution

Separate Virginia charges against all four men were placed following indictments by the Surry County grand jury when it met on September 25, 2007. The principal evidence considered was the sworn statements of the defendants during their plea agreement process before the federal court, although the indictments are for different charges. Vick was charged with two class 6 felonies, which carry a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment for each charge.

Citing the high costs and transportation logistics of proceeding while he was still in federal prisons out of state, the prosecutor, Gerald Poindexter, decided to postpone Vick's trial in Surry County Circuit Court until after his release from federal custody. Vick's attorneys sought to resolve the state charges sooner. On October 14, 2008, Woodward filed a motion to enter a plea via two-way electronic video with the Surry County Courts. Vick planned to plead guilty to state charges in an effort to get early release from federal prison and enter a halfway house. The request for a trial without Vick physically present was denied. Poindexter agreed to hold the state trial while Vick was still in federal custody if he bore the costs of his transportation to Virginia and related expenses.

State trial and sentencing
In late November 2008, Vick was transported to Virginia to face state charges. On November 25, he appeared before the Surry County Circuit Court at a session held in neighboring Sussex Countymarker because the Surry court building was undergoing renovation. He submitted a guilty plea to a single Virginia felony charge for dog fighting, receiving a 3 year prison sentence, imposition of which was suspended upon condition of good behavior, and a $2500 fine. In return for the plea agreement, the other charge was dropped.

Financial troubles

At the end of 2006, Sports Illustrated magazine estimated Vick's annual income between his NFL salary and endorsements at $25.4 million, ranking him just below NASCAR's Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in a listing of highest earning athletes. There were problems in Vick's affairs with poor financial management, bad investments, and lawsuits. A $45 million dollar lawsuit was pending in a dispute with his original sports agents. Several lucrative endorsement deals apparently soured.

After the dog fighting indictments were announced in July 2007, financial claims against Vick escalated. While in prison, Vick's income was reduced to wages of less than a dollar a day. With affairs severely affected by lost income, legal expenses, litigation, and mismanagement by a series of friends and financial advisers, he was unable to meet scheduled payments and other obligations. Within several months, Vick had been named in numerous lawsuits by banks and creditors for defaulting on loans, some relating to business investments.

The dog fighting property near Smithfield, Virginiamarker had been liquidated earlier, and in November 2007, Vick attempted to sell another of his homes.

As he served his sentence in the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas, friends and family continued to occupy some of the other homes in the South Beach section of Miami Beach, Floridamarker and multiple locations in Virginia. In June 2008, when his brother Marcus was arrested and jailed in Norfolkmarker after a police chase, he listed his residence as a $1.39 million home owned by Vick in an exclusive riverfront community in Suffolk, Virginiamarker. Construction of a new riverfront home took place on land Vick owned in another exclusive section of Suffolk. His attorneys later estimated that he was spending $30,000 a month to support 7 friends and relatives, including his mother and brother, 3 children, and their mothers.

Bankruptcy

On July 7, 2008, Vick sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Newport News after failing to "work out consensual resolutions with each of his creditors," according to court papers. The initial filing, which was incomplete, listed assets of less than $50 million and debt of $10 million to $50 million. The seven largest creditors without collateral backing their claims are owed a total of $12.8 million. The three biggest unsecured creditors are Joel Enterprises Inc., owed $4.5 million for breach of contract; Atlanta Falcons, owed $3.75 million for "pro-rated signing bonus;" and Royal Bank of Canada, owed $2.5 million for a loan.

The suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback "will seek to rebuild his life and career" upon his release.

Listing of major financial obligations

Although dozens of creditors were listed in the initial bankruptcy filing, several stood out as major.

Joel Enterprises
Joel Enterprises of Richmondmarker was listed by Vick as one of his larger creditors. Sports agents Andrew Joel and Dave Lowman claimed Vick signed a contract with their firm in 2001, 9 days before he announced he was leaving Virginia Tech early and declaring himself eligible for the NFL Draft. With his mother as a witness, Vick signed a five-year marketing agreement that anticipated a wide range of endorsement activities using Vick's name, likeness, voice and reputation. Joel's cut would be 25% of all deals, excluding Vick's NFL contract, according to the agreement. Subsequently, Vick attempted to end the relationship with Joel Enterprises suddenly a few weeks later, and entered into another relationship with other agents.

In 2005, Joel Enterprises sued Vick in Richmond Circuit Court for $45 million in compensatory and punitive damages for "breach of contract" . After the Virginia Supreme Courtmarker denied a Vick motion and ruled that the civil trial could proceed in December 2006, the parties both agreed to submit the dispute to binding arbitration for resolution instead of a formal civil court trial. The case was heard in Richmond by Charlottesville attorney Thomas Albro. The outcome was an award of $4.5 million to Joel.

Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons sought to recover a portion of Vick's $37 million 2004 signing bonus. A reduced amount of $20 million was awarded to the Falcons in binding legal arbitration, which Vick disputed. The amount was reduced by an agreement between the parties that Vick will pay the Falcons between $6.5 and $7.5 million, the variance depending upon the outcome of a pending court case which is similar yet unrelated. The bankruptcy court was advised of this Vick-Falcons settlement agreement on April 3, 2009.

Royal Bank of Canada
On September 20, 2007, the Royal Bank of Canada filed a civil lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Newport News against Vick for more than $2.3 million for a loan which was to be for real estate purposes. The suit claimed Vick failed to meet a September 10 deadline to repay. On May 7, 2008, the court granted a motion for summary judgment against Vick for default and breach of a promissory note and ordered him to pay more than US$2.5 million.

1st Source Bank
On September 26, 2007, 1st Source Bank, based in South Bend, Indianamarker, claimed in a federal lawsuit that it had suffered damages of at least $2 million as Vick and Divine Seven LLC of Atlanta had refused to pay for at least 130 vehicles acquired to be used as rental cars. The Specialty Financing Group of 1st Source provides financing for rental car fleets.

1st Source was able to repossess most of the cars, which will limit Vick's financial liability in the lawsuit. Vick's bankruptcy filing listed $400,000 as the amount of his potential liability; the filing did not indicate that the amount due 1st Source was either secured by any assets or in dispute.

Wachovia Bank
On October 2, 2007, Wachovia Bank filed suit in U.S. District Court in Atlanta seeking about $940,000 from Vick and Gerald Frank Jenkins, a business partner, and their Atlantic Wine & Package LLC. The bank claimed the two defaulted on a May 2006 loan of $1.3 million to set up a wine shop and restaurant and had not made scheduled payments. Jenkins, a retired surgeon who has owned Atlantic Wine since 2004, brought Vick in as an investor.

In May 2008, that summary judgment in favor of Wachovia against Vick was granted by the U.S. District Court in Atlanta. The amount of $1,117,908.85 represented the initial principal balance outstanding ($937,907.61), interest accrued, outstanding fees, overdrawn accounts, and attorney fees. The order provided that further interest could be accrued.

U.S. Department of Labor
On March 25, 2009, the United States Department of Labormarker filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Newport News, alleging that Vick and others violated federal employee benefits law taking funds in the amount of $1.35 million in withdrawals from the retirement plan sponsored by MV7, one of his companies.

The money held was in trust under pension laws to fund retirement plans for 9 current or former employees of MV7. The Labor Department simultaneously filed an adversary complaint in federal bankruptcy court to prevent Vick from discharging his alleged debt to the MV7 pension plan. The complaint alleged that some of the funds were used to pay restitution ordered in his dogfighting conspiracy case.

Early proceedings

In August 2008, Vick's finances were in such disarray that a bankruptcy judge had been asked to appoint a trustee to oversee them. U.S. Trustee W. Clarkson McDow Jr. noted in court documents filed in Virginia that, by his own admission, Vick "has limited ability to arrange his finances and limited ability to participate in the bankruptcy case on an in-person basis." McDow wrote in his motion to appoint a Chapter 11 trustee "It appears that Mr. Vick has routinely relied upon others to make financial decisions for him, giving them discretionary control over large sums of money". McDow named Mary Wong and David A. Talbot as individuals who had obtained broad written authority to act as his attorney-in-fact over all of his financial affairs. On the same day, an ESPN news story described Wong and Talbot as "two financial advisers who have been charged with major frauds."

Mary Wong
In fall 2007, upon a recommendation from Falcons teammate Demorrio Williams, Vick hired Wong, a business manager in Omaha, Nebraskamarker. Wong helped cash in some of Vick's investments to provide the restitution funds required by the federal court in his criminal case to care for the dogs. According to a document filed by one of Vick's attorneys, she used a power of attorney from Vick to "wrongfully remove" at least another $900,000 from his various accounts. Court papers also say Wong "caused certain business entities owned by [Vick] to be transferred to her." Vick learned later that Wong had been permanently barred from working with any firm that traded on the New York Stock Exchange as the result of taking more than $150,000 from two elderly widows she met while working at Wells Fargo Investments.

David A. Talbot
Vick next turned to Talbot, a medical school graduate from Hackensack, New Jerseymarker who claimed expertise in financial management. Vick later told the court that he met Talbot in April 2008 through his brother, Marcus, who he said is a good friend of Talbot's son. Talbot was to be paid $15,000 per month and took possession of one of Vick's cars, an $85,000 Mercedes-Benz. Upon closer examination, it was discovered that his professional résumé contained numerous false statements. Talbot has been accused of defrauding church members in New Jerseymarker. New Jersey's Attorney General instituted legal action against Talbot for securities fraud in a scheme to "defraud" several investors of more than $500,000 by offering them "asset enhancement contracts" that were to be used to build a new church. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Frank Santoro ordered that the Mercedes-Benz Vick gave Talbot be repossessed and sold, and that Talbot show up at a hearing on September 5.

On August 29, a hearing was held in Newport News Bankruptcy Court. Vick participated by speaker phone from Leavenworth. He told the court his representatives were talking to the NFL on his behalf about a return to football, but that he did not know what his earning potential is.

On September 5, Talbot appeared before Santoro but declined to answer the judge's questions, invoking his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. Santoro told him, "You are ordered to account for every dime – or every penny, let's put it that way – that you have received from Mr. Vick." Talbot's attorney told the court that Talbot gave the Mercedes-Benz back to Marcus, who drove it from Florida to Virginia.

Ongoing expenses: support of friends and relatives

Attorney Paul K. Campsen explained to the court that Vick "has supported his mother, brother, fiancée and his two children" over the years. He reported that Vick's financial problems included average monthly expenses of $12,225 for several large homes his family and friends were living in and a monthly income of just $277.69.

Vick's mother Brenda was a school bus driver in Newport News. She had been earning $100,000 per year as an employee of MV7, Vick's celebrity marketing company, which also employed one of his sisters. Marcus, who lives with Brenda, lost his college scholarship when he was expelled from the football program at Virginia Tech following a series of incidents. An undrafted free agent in the 2006 NFL Draft, he was signed by the Miami Dolphins and played in one game. The Dolphins did not renew his single year contract. At the time of the hearing, he was free on bail facing multiple charges from the police chase incident in June 2008 in Norfolk. On October 20, Marcus was convicted and given a suspended twelve month jail sentence.

According to Vick's attorneys, money Vick gave his fiancée, mother, two children and other family members in recent years might have to be returned to pay creditors. If they bought property with money that Vick gave them, they could be ordered to sell that property and turn over the proceeds to the court.

Initial Reorganization Plan

After being granted an extension in July, on November 12, 2008, Vick's attorneys filed a document entitled "Disclosure Statement With Respect to Debtor's First Amended Plan of Reorganization." Under the bankruptcy plan discussed with the Bankruptcy Court earlier at an October 4 hearing, Vick's plans include selling three of his six homes. He would keep the two homes in Suffolk, the one occupied by his mother on West Creek Court, and his fiancée, Kijafa Frink, and their two children, who were living with him in the house in Hampton prior to his incarceration, would live in the new $2 million house being built on Wentworth Court in Suffolk. His previous girlfriend, Tameka Taylor, and his son by her, who have lived in the James City County house, would live with her relatives.

For monthly expenses, Vick listed support payments of approximately $30,000 a month. Items include $14,531 a month to his mother (which includes $4,700 in mortgage payments and a monthly electric power bill of $663), $12,363 a month to his fiancée and two daughters, and $3,500 a month to Taylor. Creditors have challenged Vick's spending, particularly since his suspension from the NFL.

Income prospects
Vick's attorneys told the judge on November 13 that Vick "has every reason to believe that upon his release, he will be reinstated into the NFL, resume his career and be able to earn a substantial living." One of his bankruptcy attorneys told the court that Vick and his creditors were after the same ends: allowing Vick to right himself financially, get back to playing football, and pay off his debts.

Funds and assets handled by Reamon, Wong, Talbot, Washington
On November 13, his attorneys told the bankruptcy court that they are still working on accounting for all his funds during the past two years. They told the judge that they would question Charles W. Reamon Jr., a Vick associate with a connection to the dogfighting location and the nephew of Vick's high school coach and mentor, Tommy Reamon. Records revealed that in January 2006, Reamon paid the $50 fee to renew the kennel license at Vick's Surry County property where the dog fighting ring was based. Reamon has a criminal record in Virginia with three convictions related to illegal firearms or airport security. The attorneys told the court that Reamon, listed in court papers as Vick's personal assistant and friend, had permission from Vick to disburse the money to Vick’s family, but so far not all of the $3 million of Vick's money he apparently handled in the two years before Vick filed for bankruptcy protection in July 2008 has been accounted for. Reamon spent at least some of the money on, "among other things, a horse farm, horses, cars, boats and spending money." Reamon, Wong, and Talbot are listed as potential defendants in separate lawsuits that Vick is considering filing, alleging mismanagement of his money.

The 69-acre farm in Surry County for which Vick paid 50% was titled exclusively in Reamon's name, although Vick maintains he owned a 50% interest. Reamon was in possession or control of several small yachts, also paid for partially or entirely by Vick, one of which was being offered for sale.

The status of Vick's approximately 60% interest in Seven Charms, LLC, a horse farm in Conyers, Georgiamarker in partnership with Arthur Washington, was undetermined. In September 2008, the farm, in which Vick had invested $200,000, was sold at absolute auction for unpaid real estate taxes at far below market value. Washington apparently failed to notify Vick of the pending auction and kept the proceeds. Documents revealed that both the actions of the county and Washington are being challenged by Vick's attorneys due to his federal bankruptcy protection.

Six racing horses boarded at a horse farm in Florida were to be sold with net proceeds after commissions and expenses to go towards the bankruptcy fund. As of the September disclosure, one of these transactions has been completed, with net proceeds of approximately $30,000.

Revisions to Initial Reorganization Plan
The house in Surry County that served as headquarters for Bad Newz Kennels was sold to an investor, and was vacant and still on the market as of March 2009. The Georgia house was put on auction in February, 2009. The minimum bid was $3.2 million, but there were no bids. Another effort in March failed to produce bids.

Under revisions to the plan, Vick would sell the 7,800-square-foot home on West Creek Court in Suffolk's Harbour View where his mother and brother live. As planned earlier, Vick, his fiancée, and their two children will live in the newhouse in Governor's Pointe in Suffolk. Under the revision, Vick's mother and brother would have relocated to the house in Hampton where Frink and the children have been living while the Governor's Pointe mansion was under construction. Vick would have also retained valuable personal property, including a 2007 Land Rover, a Lincoln Navigator and a 2007 Infiniti truck.

The plan provided for Vick to keep all of his first $750,000 in income. A portion of his income in excess of $750,000 annually would be used by the court to discharge his debts on a sliding scale. He would then pay 20% of any additional income up to $2.5 million, 25% of income between $2.5 million and $10 million and 33% of income over $10 million.

A court hearing on April 2, 2009, was expected to provide further clarification regarding repayment of the $1.35 million unlawfully withdrawn from a pension fund for Vick employees which was claimed by the U.S.marker Department of Labormarker, as well as disposition of funds which may recovered from the claims and/or lawsuits pending against Reamon, Wong, and Talbot for missing or unaccounted money they handled.

Objections to Reorganization Plan
Creditor Joel Enterprises is owed $4.6 million. Andrew Joel objected to the plan because he wants to be paid first, rather than in line with other creditors. Joel Enterprises filed a complaint on March 26 alleging Vick transferred property and cash to relatives and friends in the year before he filed for bankruptcy to defraud his creditors.

The Internal Revenue Service reported to the bankruptcy judge that Vick owes more than $1.2 million in back taxes as of October 2008. The IRS said that figure may increase as he had not yet filed his 2007 return.

Objections to the proposed Reorganization Plan were filed by the Virginia Department of Taxation, the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. attorney’s office, and the U.S. bankruptcy trustee.

April 2009 hearing
Vick appeared in person before Santoro at a hearing in Newport News on April 2, 2009. In March, Santoro rejected the idea of allowing testimony by video hookup, saying he needed Vick in the courtroom so he could assess his demeanor and credibility. The U.S. Marshals Service and Western Tidewater Regional Jail in Suffolk handled custody of him while in Virginia.

At the early part of the hearing, Santoro learned that settlement agreements had been negotiated by Vick's attorneys which would allow the U.S. Department of Labor and the Virginia Department of Taxation to withdraw their objections to the reorganization plan. The majority of Vick's creditors, representing about 80% of listed liabilities, agreed to this plan. At that point, the judge became aware that Joel Enterprises remained as the only creditor to continue to object to the plan.

Vick testified that he intends to live a better life after prison. He spoke about his crime, saying that it was "heinous" and he felt "true remorse". Under questioning by Joel's attorney, Vick admitted that he knowingly withdrew an additional $150,000 from the pension fund last year, even after being advised that it was improper, explaining that he was "desperate" to pay some bills.

Regarding his projected income, the court heard testimony about Vick's plans to pay creditors, which included working 40 hours a week in a $10 an hour construction job promised by a major contractor and longtime acquaintance, until he was reinstated to the NFL, and signed by a team. Agent Joel Segal testified to a pending $600,000 documentary deal to tell the story of Vick's life and his plan to negotiate to place Vick with an NFL team as soon as issues by the League and the Falcons are satisfied.

Initial Reorganization Plan rejected
Near the end of the hearing on April 3, Santoro rejected the plan as unsound, saying that it was too strongly predicated on both Vick's hopes of a return to the NFL and the very substantial projected income which it may bring, neither of which was assured. He said information presented about the $600,000 documentary deal was too incomplete.

Santoro calculated that under his plan, Vick would need about $1 million by May 1 to confirm the bankruptcy plan, and will only have about 21% of that available by then. Santoro said Vick would need at least $7 million to $8 million more annually just to break even after three years. About $3.5 million of that would have gone to pay bankruptcy lawyers. Santoro was critical of the plan's provisions for Vick to maintain two houses and four cars, calculating that Vick would need about $200,000 in annual living expenses.

The judge commended Vick for trying to work out his financial mess after years of poor choices. He told Vick the numbers simply didn’t add up. Adjourning the case until a status hearing with lawyers on March 28, Santoro told Vick to work with his advisers to create a new plan, and suggested Vick begin by liquidating one or both of his Virginia homes, as well as three of the cars that Vick had intended to keep, and "buy a house more within his means." Vick earlier testified that he felt obligated to provide for his friends and family because of "where he had come from." Santoro told Vick that while that might be commendable, "You cannot be everything to everybody. If you do, you're going to be nothing to anybody."

Revised Reorganization Plan in progress
On April 28, attorneys met with Santoro for a scheduled update meeting and advised him that they are making substantial progress on a revised plan to submit to the court. They reported having settled all disputes with his creditors, including Joel.

There were no indications of any new developments regarding Vick's prospects for playing in the NFL. Specific information about possible additional divesture one or both of the luxury homes and vehicles Vick had hoped to keep as the judge had recommended on April 3 was also not available. Santoro set a June 9 hearing date for the attorneys to return with a revised plan.

Awards, records, and accomplishments

College awards



College records and accomplishments

  • Set an NCAA record for a freshman and established single-season school records for highest yards passing per completion (20.4), per attempt (12.1), highest completion percentage (59.2) and most yards per play (9.3).
  • Became the first player in Division I history to win a league's Player of the Year Award in the same season he won Rookie of the Year.


NFL awards



NFL records and milestones

  • In 2006, Vick became the only quarterback in NFL history to rush for over 1,000 yards during the regular season.
  • In 2006, Vick set the NFL record for most yards per carry in a season with 8.4.
  • Vick (1,039 yards) and Dunn (1,140) became the first QB/RB tandem in NFL history to each go over the 1,000-yard rushing mark in the same season. They became the fourth set of teammates in league history to each have 1,000 or more yards.
  • Made his third Pro Bowl in 2005 as he passed for 2,412 yards and 16 touchdowns in addition to leading all NFL quarterbacks with 597 rushing yards and six scores.
  • Named to the second Pro Bowl of his career after leading the Falcons to their third division title in team history and breaking numerous NFL and team records in 2004.
  • Set an NFL postseason record for a quarterback with 119 rushing yards in the 2004 NFC Divisional playoff win against the Rams.
  • Became the first quarterback to throw for more than 250 yards and rush for over 100 yards in the same game in Denver (October 31, 2004).


Charitable foundations

Michael Vick has been a principal in two charitable foundations, the Michael Vick Foundation and The Vick Foundation.

In June 2006, Vick, along with his brother Marcus and mother Brenda, established The Vick Foundation, a nonprofit organization to support at-risk youth and the after school programs that serve them in the Metro Atlanta and Hampton Roads areas. The announcement of the new organization came just before the start of the foundation's first fundraiser, the Michael Vick Golf Classic. The inaugural event was held at the prestigious Kingsmill Golf Course in James City Countymarker near Williamsburg, Virginiamarker in partnership with The Virginia Tech Alumni Association Tidewater Chapter, and netted more than $80,000 for charity. According to its 2006 federal tax return, the Michael Vick Foundation provided 100 backpacks to poor children in Newport News and paid for an after-school program in 2006. During the same period the foundation spent 12% of its budget – $20,590 of $171,823 – on charitable programs and paid its fundraiser, Susan Bass Roberts, a former spokeswoman for Vick, $97,000. That foundation ceased operations in 2006. One of Vick's financial advisors withdrew $50,000, most of the remaining funds, from its checking account in 2008.

After the Virginia Tech massacremarker on April 16, 2007, Vick and the United Way donated $10,000 to assist families affected. The Vick Foundation collected donations from communities in Atlanta and Virginia that will be placed in the United In Caring Fund for Victims of the Virginia Tech Tragedy and the special fund at the United Way of Montgomerymarker, Radford and Floydmarker counties, which serves the Virginia Tech area. The Vick Foundation said the money would be used to provide help with funeral expenses, transportation for family members and other support services.

In June 2007, the "Michael Vick Football Camp," to be held at Christopher Newport Universitymarker in Newport News, was canceled for the summer 2007 session. He canceled participation in another football camp to be held at the College of William and Marymarker and was replaced by Washington Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell.

On June 22, a charity golf tournament featuring Vick, intended in part to raise scholarships in memory of Virginia Tech's shooting victims, was rescheduled for September.

References

  1. [1]
  2. On the NFL Shop custom jersey website [2] Entering the Term "MEXICO" onto the jersey returns with the message "Your current entry cannot be processed. Language deemed inappropriate, derogatory, or profane will not be accepted. Please create a new entry." The same message is returned when trying to create a custom jersey with "VICK" on the back.
  3. Vick sentenced to 23 months for dogfighting CNN.com
  4. [3]
  5. [4]
  6. U.S. Labor Department sues former NFL player and others in bankruptcy court to recover pension assets, Fox Business, March 25, 2009
  7. Vick is in more hot water - Feds claim QB illegally spent pension funds, Associated Press, March 26, 2009
  8. [5], Reorg Plan PDF
  9. Vick's Plans to Pay Creditors Rejected Yahoo Sports, April 3, 2009
  10. https://www.jointheteam.com/features/?f=316&t=22


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