A person familiar with the release details said suspended NFL star Michael Vick left a Kansas prison Wednesday for home confinement in Virginia, the latest step on a journey that he hopes will lead to his return to the NFL.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no public announcement has been made. The person said Vick left the federal penitentiary at Leavenworth before dawn, evading cameras and reporters who had staked out the building ahead of his expected released this week.
Vick had been serving a 23-month sentence for financing a dogfighting ring. He will spend the last two months of the term on electronic monitoring at his five-bedroom home in Hampton, Va.
The former Atlanta Falcons quarterback is expected to be released from federal custody July 20, but he will be on probation for three years. He hopes to persuade NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to reinstate him.
Vick, once the NFL’s highest-paid player, will be allowed to leave his house to work a $10-an-hour job as a laborer for a construction company and for other limited purposes approved by his probation officer. He will be handed a new set of rules when he begins serving three years of probation after his expected July 20 release from federal custody.
The transfer from the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan., will allow Vick to begin rebuilding his life, repairing his image and working toward his goal of reinstatement to the NFL.
Vick wants to work with the Humane Society of the United States on a program aimed at eradicating dogfighting among urban teens, society president Wayne Pacelle said Tuesday. Pacelle said he recently met with Vick at the federal prison in Leavenworth.
Goodell has said he will review Vick’s status after his criminal case is concluded. He has said Vick will have to persuade him and the public that he is genuinely sorry for his crime, that he has been changed by his experience and that he is committed to leading a different life.
Even if he is reinstated, Vick’s future in the league is uncertain. He and the Falcons have parted ways, agreeing to a contract settlement that will allow Vick to sign with another team — if there is one willing to endure the wrath of some fans in exchange for the services of a player who was perhaps the NFL’s most electrifying performer.
A public backlash isn’t the only risk. By all accounts, Vick has tried to stay in good physical shape, but there’s no telling how much his skills have eroded after two missed seasons.
Vick, who turns 29 in June, said in bankruptcy court last month that he believes he can play another 10-12 years. The NFL career average is only 3.2 years and Vick already has played seven.