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Vick Says He'll Try to Make Most of Chance

UPDATED (3:41 p.m.)...

PHILADELPHIA--Michael Vick said here Friday he hopes to prove he's deserving of the second chance to play in the NFL that the Philadelphia Eagles have given him.

"I committed an act that was cruel and it was unethical," Vick said at a news conference at the Eagles' training facility. "It was inhumane. So I understand to a certain degree [that some observers will never forgive him]. But our country is a country of second chances and I paid my debt to society. I spent two years on prison.... That was a humbling experience."

Vick was officially introduced by the Eagles on the day after the team announced that it had signed the quarterback to a one-year contract, plus a club option for a second season. Vick missed the last two NFL seasons while serving his federal sentence for his role in a dogfighting operation in Virginia.

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said he'd had to be convinced to give Vick another chance.

"This took a lot of soul-searching for me," Lurie said. "I was asked to approve Michael Vick joining a very proud organization several days ago. Sometimes in life, you have to make extremely difficult and soul-searching decisions where there is no right answer.... When you are asked to approve something that you completely find despicable and anathema, it takes a lot of soul-searching."

Vick was seated at a table with Eagles Coach Andy Reid and former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, who has agreed to serve as an adviser to Vick, as he spoke.

Vick thanked Lurie, Reid, Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, Dungy and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

"I know, as we all know, in the past I have made some mistakes," Vick said. "I have done some terrible things. I made a horrible mistake. And now I want to be part of the solution and not the problem.... I want to do whatever is necessary and be the best ambassador for the NFL and the community."

Vick called McNabb, who recommended to Reid that the Eagles sign Vick, "a great friend." He called being with the Eagles a perfect situation, and declared himself "ready to go."

He's scheduled to participate in his first practice with the Eagles on Saturday.

"I made poor decisions in my life and I had to reach a turning point, and prison definitely did it for me," Vick said. "It [his behavior] was totally unnecessary and uncalled for.... I was wrong for what I did. Everything that happened at that point in time in my life was wrong and unnecessary and, for the life of me, to this day I can't understand why I was involved in such a pointless activity and why I risked so much at the pinnacle of my career. I was naïve to a lot of things. But I figure if I can help more animals than I hurt, then I am contributing. I am doing my part."

Vick called it a "surreal feeling" to be back in the NFL. His contract with the Eagles reportedly will pay him $1.6 million this season and $5.2 million next season if the team exercises its second-year option. The deal reportedly also contains an additional $3 million in possible incentives that could push its overall value to $9.8 million.

Vick called Goodell's conditional reinstatement of him "fair." Under the terms of his reinstatement, Vick is eligible to practice immediately and to play in the Eagles' final two preseason games. Goodell is to rule by Week 6 of the season on Vick's eligibility to play in regular season games.

Goodell's conditional reinstatement of Vick came after the quarterback was imprisoned in Leavenworth, Kan., and on home confinement in Hampton, Va. Vick, a father of three, said the most difficult moment of his ordeal came when he had to explain the situation and his actions to his young children.

"I think everybody deserves a second chance," Vick said. "We all have issues. We deal with certain things, and we all have our own set of inequities. I think as long as you are willing to come back and do it the right way and do the right things and that you're committed, then I think you deserve it. But you only get one shot at a second chance, and I am conscious of that.

"... I went to prison and I had plenty of time to think about what I did.... I have to keep pushing forward and try to do more good than bad.... I have to make a lot of people believe that I can."

He said he realized before his illegal activities became publicized that what he was doing was wrong, but was unable at that point to turn his life around.

"There was a point in my life when, before I was convicted or before the allegations even came out, when I knew it was wrong and I felt that it was wrong," Vick said. "Just when I was trying to turn the corner, it was too late. But everything happens for a reason, and there is a reason I was sent to Kansas and a reason I was convicted. I was conscious of the fact that it was wrong, and to this day I have to deal with that shame and that embarrassment."

Vick's arrival in town was not greeted with universal praise. The front-page headline in Friday's Philadelphia Daily News read: "Hide Your Dogs." The newspaper's back-page headline asked of the Eagles: "What Are They Thinking?"

At 1:15 p.m., a little more than an hour after the Eagles' news conference had ended, four protesters stood on a sidewalk outside the gate to the team's complex.

They held signs that said, "Hide Your Beagle, Vick's an Eagle," and "We Don't Want a Killer."

The group had been much larger earlier in the day, they said. One Eagles player, they said, had stopped his car while driving past and had told them that they were rude.

The Eagles indicated they knew that some of their followers would be displeased with the move.

"Not everybody agrees with every decision that's been made, no matter where it is or what organization it is in the National Football League or in Philadelphia," Reid said. "I know some people will not agree. But on the other hand, I think the majority will.... I expect the public to have questions initially, which is obviously taking place, but at the same time I trust that we do the right things here.... I think that the majority of the public wants Michael to do well."

Lurie called himself an "extreme dog lover." He said he thinks daily about two of his dogs that died recently and indicated he now has two dogs, one of which had been rescued from an abusive situation. He called Vick's crimes the "worst possible behavior" and said that Vick had "disgraced" the NFL.

But the Eagles owner said he became more receptive to the suggestion of signing Vick after receiving input from Reid, Goodell and Dungy. He had a lengthy one-on-one meeting with Vick, he said, in which he sought to detect remorse and self-hatred on Vick's part for his crimes, and did.

"I wanted to know everything," Lurie said. "I wanted to know about the cruelty, the torture, the humiliation.... I spent hours with Michael, asked him extremely tough questions, tried to evaluate remorse."

Lurie called it unprecedented for him to meet with a player that the franchise was considering signing, and he called the move to add Vick counter-intuitive to a team that prides itself on the character of its employees. But Lurie changed his mind about Vick and about the proposed move, and approved the signing.

"In spending the time with Michael, I think he deserves that opportunity," Lurie said. "... Meeting with Michael, I felt the self-hated. I felt the remorse. I felt the plans going forward could be very, very fruitful for animal rights in America.... He has an opportunity to be a very valuable member of society, and that's the goal here.... There was an opportunity here to be [Vick's] support system."

Lurie said he wouldn't have approved the move if McNabb hadn't been in agreement with it. But he also indicated he wouldn't evaluate the success of the signing on football terms.

"If we don't have an extremely pro-active player here off the field, then this is a terrible decision," Lurie said. "... My own measurement of Michael Vick will be 100 percent: Will he be able to create social change in this horrendous arena of animal cruelty?... If he's not proactive, he will not be on the team because that's part of the agreement."

The Eagles will release Vick if he doesn't hold up his off-field part of the bargain, Lurie said.

"There is no room for error on Michael's part," Lurie said. "There are no third chances and we know that.... If it becomes at all apparent that we're wrong, it won't take very long to make that change."

Vick has made several recent public appearances, including one this week in Chicago as part of an anti-dogfighting campaign by the Humane Society.

Wayne Pacelle, the president and chief executive officer of the Humane Society, said in a written statement released Friday: "Michael Vick admits that what he did to dogs was cruel and barbaric, but now that he has served his time, he wants to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. He has pledged to make a long-term commitment to participate in our community-based outreach programs to steer inner-city youth away from dogfighting. At events with Michael in Atlanta and Chicago, we've seen him deliver a powerful message against animal cruelty.

"Like so many other major American cities, Philadelphia has a serious dogfighting problem, and groups like the Pennsylvania SPCA have excellent programs to combat dogfighting locally. We have not had any discussions with the Philadelphia Eagles and the team did not consult animal welfare groups about its decision, but we look forward to working together to combat the dogfighting problem in Philadelphia and nationwide."

Reid had said during a news conference late Thursday, following the Eagles' opening preseason game against the New England Patriots, that the well publicized legal troubles of his two sons had made him more sympathetic to Vick's bid to start a new life.

From a football perspective, Reid vowed to find ways to utilize Vick's enormous athletic gifts without threatening McNabb's status as the club's starting quarterback.

"I think we know Michael Vick is, and I'm speaking in the past here, two years ago he was one of the greatest quarterbacks in the National Football League," Reid said Friday. "He has tremendous athletic ability, and I've always said to the people of Philadelphia that I would try to bring in the best players that could help our football team to achieve the highest goal, and that's a Super Bowl. Michael will contribute.... You can ask defensive coordinators on other teams if they're worried about that."

Dungy said he'd spoken to about a dozen NFL coaches about Vick. Dungy and Joel Segal, Vick's agent who watched the news conference while standing in an aisle in an auditorium at the team's facility, were evasive about how many of those dozen teams followed up with serious efforts to sign Vick.

Segal said that by the time Vick picked a team, there were two other clubs still in the running to sign him. He declined to identify the teams, although he indicated that Vick might have had a chance to be the starting quarterback with one of the clubs. Fox reported that the Cincinnati Bengals made Vick a contract offer, but the Bengals have Carson Palmer as their starter at quarterback.

An NFL source had said early in the week that at least five teams were interested. Dungy said Friday he wasn't certain how many of the teams that had contacted him were serious about possibly signing Vick. He indicated he believed that Vick ended up in a positive situation.

"I know they didn't do this as a charity measure," Dungy said. "They feel Mike is gonna help their football team.... But they also stepped out to give a man a second chance, and I think that's important.... I think it's gonna work out great. I told Mike I didn't think he could be with a better organization."

Dungy said he didn't want to overstep his bounds but planned to remain in contact with Vick in his mentoring relationship.

Vick had been a free agent after being released in the offseason by his original NFL team, the Atlanta Falcons.

The Falcons issued a written statement Friday that said: "Michael is going to a first-class organization and will receive tremendous support.... Michael has been given a good opportunity to restart his career in the NFL, and we wish him well."

By Mark Maske  |  August 14, 2009; 12:45 PM ET  | Category:  Crime , Eagles , League Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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As an employee of the Defense Department, I have no problem with using force to kill those who seek to destroy our country and harm its people. But I’ve written Congress to protest my employer’s murder of innocent animals in training exercises.

As a U.S. citizen, I have no problem with capital punishment for those guilty of malevolent acts against society. But I am haunted by the fact that there have been innocents on death row.

As a human being, I condemn the killing of innocents, human or canine. Most heinous is the torture and murder of innocents in a systematic, serial, and sadistic way. For his personal amusement and financial gain, Vick preyed upon innocent lives that mattered.

As a football fan, and one who has enjoyed watching the Eagles play, I want to add my voice to the posts calling for an economic boycott of the team and its sponsors.

The team’s management made a self-serving financial decision that the protest will be strong, but brief, and when it blows over they can proceed with business as usual. Let’s show how badly they miscalculated. Let’s show that the depth of our society’s compassion is not so shallow.

The issues at stake here are important. Our children are watching, and they are learning life lessons about society's values.

Posted by: TEC140 | August 15, 2009 10:55 PM

Mr. Vick claims to want a second chance...perhaps he got one with the Eagles. In reality, Mr. Vick received a second change every Sunday he walked on the field with an Atlanta jersey on his back. Every Sunday, he walked away from the hideous world of dog fighting and hanging around with his drug-thug gun slinging cronies. But, every Monday, he threw away his second chance and returned to the senior executive position of Bad Newz Kennels and exacted more pain and terror on his and other folks' dogs...all for pocket change and some good fun in his eyes.

The Eagles have made a blunder here...this will come back to haunt the organization in very short order. An 18 month stretch in a light duty prison and a few visits with Tony Dungy can't erase or negate the deep seeded mentality of one CHOOSING to engage in dog fighting. It is this mentality...more than the dog fighting...that will "dog" Mr. Vick and the Eagles.

Call the sponsors and call the Eagles...the history and legacy of the NFL is better than this.

Posted by: LouisianaVirginian | August 15, 2009 7:59 AM

Mikey Vick is a felon.

His real name is Elbert Woods.

The guy attached a car battery to a dog's nut sack and then slammed its head against the ground when it didn't die. 



Get this GHETTO TRASH out of my country!!

Posted by: Rubiconski | August 14, 2009 10:28 PM

I believe in forgiveness and second chances but I don't think Vick is deserving of either at this point. That's because I don't believe he's actually sorry or actually believes that he did anything wrong. He's sorry he got caught. He's saying all the right things because someone else wrote them down for him and he's reading the script.

This is the same guy that knew he had an STD and still had unprotected sex with women.

The fact that other NFL players have committed crimes does not mean that Vick's crimes should be overlooked.

Vick engaged in calculated, deliberate cruelty and he did it for fun--the fun of watching and the fun of betting on the outcome. He's a sorry excuse for a human being.

Posted by: lalalu1 | August 14, 2009 4:07 PM

Michael Vick's crimes are deplorable. Professional athletes have always been role models for our nation's children. Hiring Mr. Vick sends a powerful message to kids. Yes, he has completed his sentence and is now in need of employment. But I don't believe that he should be hired back into any position that includes being a role model for children. Kids deserve and really need so much more from us adults than that. My husband and I are joining the nationwide boycott of Eagles corporate sponsors. The team's hiring decision affects the sponsors' good name too: they are now sponsoring this decision. If anyone would like to join the boycott, they can call and ask the sponsors to either withdraw their sponsorship or put pressure on the Eagles to rectify this situation, and we can let the sponsors know that we will boycott their products until then.

The names of the corporate sponsors can be found on the Eagles' website: www.philadelphiaeagles.com.
On the menu bar at the top of the page, point to or click on "Team." The link for the sponsors is at the bottom of the drop menu, and also on the left hand side of the Team page itself. Below are a few of them, and their contact numbers. Everyone I spoke with was helpful and very interested in the public's reactions to the Vick hire, and they will pass your comments forward to management.

Pepsi - 800-433-2652
Rite Aid - 717-761-2633
Dunkin Donuts - 800-839-5339
Snapple - 800-696-5891
7-Eleven - 800-255-0711
TastyKake - 215-221-8500
Miller Lite - 800-645-5376
Best Buy - 888-237-8289
Budweiser - 800-342-5283
ReMax - 303-770-5531

Posted by: jdVA | August 14, 2009 3:05 PM

Mike Vick deserves a second chance, but unlike literally millions of other young, gifted and black parolees, Vick has two things going for him: First, he has a marketable skill, not a requirement of any young person in America today, but for a parolee a must (in its absence we have what we have... a fast return to prison). Second, he has next to him now what many young men and women do not have, and particularly young black men... he has a father figure in Tony Dungy, who has cosigned for this young man. Now they both have a chance at redemption. One gets a chance to have his life back after being a fool and a criminal. The other gets to fix a son before it is too late. This is a rare moment and I wish both of them every success.

Posted by: garygrimm | August 14, 2009 3:05 PM

Lot of haters out today.

What's truly amazing to me is that there are many instances of hard crimes in professional sports, but that THIS is the one that people find unacceptible.

Bull fights in Spain or Mexico - acceptible. Kobe Bryant raping a maid - acceptible. Ray Lewis involvement in murder - can be overlooked. Dogfighting - get us the hanging judge.

Those who say they'll boycott the NFL if Vick plays - get a clue already. Much worse criminals than Vick play professional sports every day. If this is your conscience speaking, then you should have never been watching U.S. sports in the first place.

Vick did his time. Give him a break already.

Posted by: postfan1 | August 14, 2009 2:47 PM

Guess what folks. No one care what you think. Energy spent hating someone you don't know I'd say is energy wasted. Lets move on to more important things. Unless you don't have anything more important.

Posted by: unkonchus | August 14, 2009 2:47 PM

another arrogant criminal,lawyers up,slap on the wrist and now going to make millions $$$$ for playing a game.send this a...... to iraq/afghan where he may learn something about real americans that step up to their responsibilities at a price that this fool would never understand,and does not care

Posted by: pofinpa | August 14, 2009 2:43 PM

Forgiveness is part of the Christian ethic and Vick has been forgiven by those who truly care. Vick has a second chance to move forward in a career he loves. I believe him when he says that he is sorry for his actions. Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society said of the Philadelphia SPCA, they have a serious problem with dogfighting in their city. And, it's not just Philadelphia but all across the country. Cockfighting is also a serious problem. As far as PETA goes, I gave up on them when they protested the tossing of already dead salmon, a tradition at Pike Place Market in Seattle for generations.

Posted by: Leathnm | August 14, 2009 2:26 PM

While I believe some people deserve a 2nd chance, there is no way you can convince me that a 2 year stint at the country club he was in is lesson enough.

He should be doing community service to benefit animals, and as a matter of fact, make another stupid relaity show out of it, so everyone can seee him working to help and save animals.

If everyone excuses his behavior towards crulety to animals, then what is next. Cruelty to humans?

I am appaled at the league itself, as they originaly said he was suspened with no chance at playing again, and then all of a sudden the entire subject went silent. Now he is not only back in, but is playing for a pro team. Moral clause by @#$^!!

With regard to Philly, I will boycott watching all games with Philly in them, to include all other sports as well. In addition, until he is gone, i will boycott the city itself.

Now is your chance to tell them how you feel!!

Posted by: kencorp1 | August 14, 2009 2:22 PM

As Vick signs with Philadelphia, a young pit bull used for bait in his second career lies in the Washington Humane Society fighting for its life. It was wrapped up in a plastic bag, thrown in a dumpster, and either left for dead or to die. That son of a b*tch has no place being allowed to return to professional football. Right now he's acting very contrite, but the minute he thinks the heat is off, he will go back to his old habits.....maybe not dogfighting but something more lucrative. Human trafficing perhaps! The fact he was even allowed to return to professional sports is criminal. This jacka55 is a sadistic criminal. I just hope one of the 350 linemen lined up opposite him is a dog lover and decides to exact some justice.

Posted by: panamajack | August 14, 2009 2:11 PM

He's going to do something else. Just wait. He's easily influenced and impressed by his loser mooching entourage that surrounds him.

Posted by: 123cartoon | August 14, 2009 2:06 PM

I think he deserves a second chance. Time to move on. Let him play.

Posted by: ski2day9 | August 14, 2009 1:56 PM

Since when were you asked to approve of dog fighting Mr. Lurie? As far as I know, no one asked you to approve of what Vick did, they simply asked you to approve of giving him a second chance with your team.

He chose his words quite poorly, I must say.
************

People are known by the company they keep. While I do think that Vick deserves a second chance (all do), Lurie's words were right on the money.

Posted by: legendarypunk | August 14, 2009 1:56 PM

He paid his dues and frankly I think most of the people that are refusing to give the man a fair shot at a second chance do more harm to society than Vick did. If you care more about a dog than a man then what makes you think you are such a good person?

Posted by: nibaizi@yahoo.com | August 14, 2009 1:52 PM

Michael Vick was a scumbag, is a scumbag and always will be a scumbag. Professional football shames itself by letting him play again.

Posted by: dsrobins | August 14, 2009 1:49 PM

And this is why the Eagles will never win anything...poor ownership. I feel sorry for McNabb and Westbrook. On any other team, they'd be HOF shoo-ins and possible SB winners.

Posted by: sbradley2007 | August 14, 2009 1:47 PM

Hey "HCLARK1",

Stop sweating Maryland! For a person who seems to not have a favorable opinion of the program...you do seem to follow it fairly closely.

Don't worry about Maryland football. It's a program that is SLOWLY building something positive...but it is positive.

Instead of getting your panties all bunched up over Maryland, perhaps you should just root for the Tar Heels. Last time I checked, the Tar Heels have a perennial Football powerhouse program.

Wait, I must have the my programs mixed up a bit. UNC is actually fairly lousy in Football...(recent, moderate success doesn't make up for the lost decades of futility).

Don't sweat Maryland football...you shouldn't trouble yourself.

What does have to do with the Michael Vick story anyway?

You Donkey!!!

Posted by: nurse1234 | August 14, 2009 1:46 PM

Posted by: hclark1 | August 14, 2009 1:27 PM :
-----------------------
I won't insert the rambling "foobaw!" predictions that had absolutely nothing to do with this story. I just want to say, this is a sad and true example of "foobaw" IQ.

Posted by: Vickie803 | August 14, 2009 1:44 PM

The cruelty committed by this thing, isn't an, "oops, I made a mistake" situation. The extent of his cruelties shows him to be deeply sociopathic. He is only sorry he got caught. How many of those poor, abused and tortured creatures got a second chance. Throw the bum out. Of course, the NFL's response to psychopathic felons is to pay them millions of dollars.

Posted by: Vickie803 | August 14, 2009 1:40 PM

"commited an act" So much for honesty with recovery. IT WAS SEVERAL ACTS!!! GET REAL!
Killing a losing dog and chopping it up and feeding it to the other fighting dogs, that is beyond cruelty!!

Posted by: thomas391 | August 14, 2009 1:33 PM

This shows how corrupt many pro sports teams are. Vick is scum. I'll boycott all Philly games!

Posted by: steveb777 | August 14, 2009 1:29 PM

The Redskins will finish with a 4-12 record.

It's time to say goodbye to Vincent Cerrato.

Too bad, Danny Snyder.

Maryland will finish with a 2-10 record.

Maryland's defensive line and linebacker corps are a joke --- no pass rush whatsoever and give up a ton of long yardage plays.

I have seen harder hitting teams in powder puff leagues.

The only hard hits the Terps make - are out of bound plays - which cost them an additional 15 yards - which are quite frequent.

California's running back - Best - will gain 296 yards in the opening game

I love it, when Maryland constantly gets embarrassed on national TV.

Prediction:

California -- 56
Maryland -- 10

It's hilarious to see Maryland win a game - and the very next week get clobbered by a Virginia Tech - Boston College.

It is great to see Maryland go down to a crushing defeat on recruiting front (the kids they have received commitments from - are a joke! - taking the bottom of the barrel)

Carolina Blue - Carolina WHITE - Go Tar Heels - Let's go Tar Heels !


Posted by: hclark1 | August 14, 2009 1:27 PM

"When you're asked to approve something that you completely find despicable and anathema, you have to do a lot of soul-searching." -Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie

Since when were you asked to approve of dog fighting Mr. Lurie? As far as I know, no one asked you to approve of what Vick did, they simply asked you to approve of giving him a second chance with your team.

He chose his words quite poorly, I must say.

Posted by: Barno1 | August 14, 2009 1:08 PM

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