Vick ordered to avoid camp during investigation
"While it is for the criminal justice system to determine your guilt or innocence, it is my responsibility as commissioner of the National Football League to determine whether your conduct, even if not criminal, nonetheless violated league policies, including the Personal Conduct Policy," Goodell said in a letter to the quarterback.
The NFL said Vick would still get his preseason pay and Goodell told the Falcons to withhold any disciplinary action of their own until the league's review was completed.
Goodell told Vick the league would complete its review quickly and that he expected full cooperation. The review is expected to involve conversations with federal law enforcement officials so the NFL can determine the strength of the case against Vick.
In addition to the league's security department, Goodell is hiring an independent investigator to explore the allegations in Vick's federal indictment, a league official said Tuesday. The official declined to identify the investigator.
The Falcons open camp on Thursday, the same day Vick is scheduled to be arraigned in Richmond, Va., on charges of sponsoring a dogfighting operation.
Team officials declined comment other than to say a news conference was scheduled Tuesday at owner Arthur Blank's office in Atlanta.
Blank, general manager Rich McKay and new coach Bobby Petrino are expected to speak publicly for the first time about their embattled quarterback. Falcons spokesman Reggie Roberts said Vick, who is in Virginia, will not attend the news conference.
Petrino's wife, Becky Petrino, said her husband had not yet returned home when The Associated Press called on Monday night.
Meanwhile, the prosecutor in Surry County, Virginia, says Vick will not be indicted when a grand jury meets tomorrow -- largely because a local dogfighting investigation has taken a back seat to the federal probe.
Surry County Commonwealth's Attorney Gerald Poindexter said Monday that his investigation has been on hiatus since the feds conducted their first search of a house owned by Vick where evidence of dogfighting was found.
Surry County's grand jury is scheduled to convene again in September.
Vick hasn't commented publicly since the team held a mini-camp in May. None of the phone messages left on his cell phone have been returned. Lawyer Lawrence Woodward of Newport News, Va., also did not respond to interview requests Monday.
Vick, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 draft, last season became the first quarterback ever to rush for more than 1,000 yards. He led the Falcons to an NFC wild-card win 2002, his first season as a starter, and in 2004, Vick's play helped the Falcons reach the conference title game.
NFL veteran players will earn $1,100 per week from the beginning of camp until the first week of the regular season.
The contract extension Vick signed in 2004, a 10-year deal worth approximately $130 million, calls for a $6 million salary this season.
After Vick's indictment last week, the NFL's position was that it would monitor developments and allow the legal process to "determine the facts."
Since then, pressure has been mounting on the league and the Falcons, particularly from animal-rights groups.
PETA -- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals -- demonstrated at Falcons' headquarters in Flowery Branch, Ga., on Monday and did the same outside NFL offices in New York last week. At the same time, Goodell was meeting with officials from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The league and the ASPCA are working on a program to educate players about the proper treatment of animals.
Activists also pressured companies that have endorsements deals with Vick to sever their ties. Nike said it would not release a fifth signature shoe, the Air Zoom Vick V, this summer. Nike spokesman Dean Stoyer said the four shoe products and three shirts that currently bear Vick's name will remain in stores.
The Humane Society of the United States responded to the NFL's directive by renewing its call that the apparel company sever its relationship with Vick while the charges are pending.
Goodell's order came down after lengthy discussions involving the league office, the Falcons and the NFL Players' Association. Gene Upshaw, the NFLPA's executive director, was one of the first to side with Goodell when he instituted the strong Personal Conduct Policy after a season of repeated misdeeds by players.
Disciplining players has turned out to be Goodell's main focus since taking over last Sept. 1 for the retired Paul Tagliabue.
Since the end of last season, he has used the new policy to suspend Adam "Pacman" Jones of the Tennessee Titans for the entire 2007 season; and Chris Henry of Cincinnati and former Chicago Bear Tank Johnson for eight games each.
Those calling for Vick's suspension have noted that Jones, who faces charges of coercion in Las Vegas stemming from a shooting that left a man paralyzed, wasn't convicted when he was suspended.
However, league officials said there were mitigating circumstances in the Jones case.
In January, he accepted a plea agreement to dismiss public intoxication and disorderly conduct charges in Tennessee if he behaved himself for six months. League officials say that the charges in Las Vegas voided that agreement and were a major factor in his suspension.
The indictment of Vick alleges that about eight young dogs were put to death at his Surry County home after they were found not ready to fight. They were killed "by hanging, drowning and/or slamming at least one dog's body to the ground."
Purses for the fights ranged from hundreds of dollars to the thousands, and participants and spectators often placed side bets on the outcome, according to the indictment
If convicted, Vick and three others charged with him could face up to six years in prison, and $350,000 in fines.Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
VICK SENTENCED TO 23 MONTHS
Michael Vick was sentenced to 23 months in federal prison and three years' probation for his role in a dogfighting conspiracy. The suspended Falcons quarterback is looking at a scheduled release of July 2009. Story
Update• GM: Falcons will attempt to trade Vick
• Lawyer: Vick might move to halfway house
• Former Vick estate fails to sell again
• Vick house fails to sell at auction
• Vick files for bankruptcy protection
• Prosecutor: Vick's Virginia trial can wait
• Vick ordered to repay Canadian bank $2.4 million
• Judge denies NFL motion to reverse Vick ruling
• Report: Vick not playing organized football in jail
• Report: Vick passes time with prison-yard football
• Vick's state dogfighting trial to begin June 27
• Munson: Vick yet to enter drug treatment
The sentence• Vick sent to Kansas to serve rest of sentence
• Vick asked judge for leniency before sentencing
• Vick sentenced to 23 months | Document (pdf)
• Poll: What do you think? | What they're saying
• Clayton: Sentence puts career in jeopardy
• Munson: Tough sentence by displeased judge
• Teammates show support at Falcons game
• Can Vick return to playing in NFL?
• Pasquarelli: No longer top of mind in Atlanta
• Last Vick co-defendant sentenced
• Podcasts : Cossack | Schlereth | Munson/Naqi | Pasquarelli
• Chat wrap: David Cornwell
Post Plea• NFL wants court to reverse Vick bonus ruling
• Victory for Vick: QB can keep $20 million bonus
• Fifth defendant in Vick case receives probation
• Vick's house for sale for $1.1M
• Some Falcons to visit Vick in prison
• PETA unveils new e-card
• Former Virginia estate fails to sell at auction
• Out of Falcons' sight, almost out of mind
• Judge's casework offers look at possible sentence
• Remaining dogs placed with rescue groups
• Source: Feds may push judge to up sentence
• NFLPA argues Vick should not lose roster bonus
• Vick co-defendants get 18, 21 months in prison
• Vick agrees to put up almost $1M for dogs' care
• Vick given April trial date on state charges
• Vick surrenders to begin serving sentence early
• Home at center of Vick dogfighting scandal sold
• Vick fires one of his lawyers in dogfighting case
• Man who sold Vick pit bull pleads guilty
• Man connected to Vick dogfight ring pleads guilty
• Third bank sues Vick, claims he defaulted on loan
• Arbiter: Falcons have right to reclaim bonuses
• PETA: Vick had class on animal cruelty
• Evaluations show 48 of Vick's dogs placeable
• Vick tests positive for marijuana
• Vick supporters turn out for town meeting
• Vick's apology notes fetch $10.2K at auction
Vick's Plea/NFL Suspension• Vick pleads guilty to federal dogfighting charge
• The plea (PDF) | Statement of facts (PDF)
• Vick's statement: Watch it | Read it
• Roger Cossack explains plea deal
• Poll: Vick should be banned
• Va. Tech, Beamer continue to support Vick
• Vick supporters drown out protesters
• NFL suspends Vick indefinitely | Goodell (PDF)
• Chris Mortensen on Vick's suspension
• Vick files plea agreement admitting to dogfighting
Indictment• Marbury's about-face: Vick 'is 100 percent wrong'
• National NAACP: Vick 'not a victim' | Audio
• Atlanta NAACP: Vick should be allowed to return
• Falcons come to terms with 'ex-teammate'
• Vick timeline | What they're saying
• Helyar: Even Atlanta turns against Vick
• Goodell: Vick not overshadowing season
• Vick co-defendant pleads guilty to charges
• Tony Taylor: Summary of Facts | Plea agreement
• Hometown residents stand by Vick
• Falcons had planned to suspend Vick
• Commish tells Vick to avoid camp
• Vick indicted | The indictment (pdf) | Civil arrest warrant (pdf)
Town Hall meeting• Town Hall chat wrap: Chadiha
Previous columns/analysis• Munson: Q&A on Vick reporting to prison early
• Munson: Looking at Judge Hudson
• Vick's high school learning lessons
• Bryant: Confounded by race issue
• Munson: Q&A about local indictment
• Munson: Next focus for Vick is length of sentence
• Schlabach: Vick an afterthought on VT campus
• Chadiha: Vick not running from truth
• Hill: Coverage means bigger issues ignored
• Wojciechowski: Pay attention to the fallen star
• Bryant: Vick's plea deal comes with baggage
• Bryant: In failing Vick, NFLPA fails itself
• Munson: Vick plea means surrender
• Forde: Vick's epic fall
• Pasquarelli: Major blow for Falcons
• Chadiha: Lots of lessons to be learned
• Wojciechowski: Punishment with teeth
• Easterbrook: Little sympathy?
• Clayton: Vick's NFL future might be bleak
• E-Ticket: A history of mistrust
• Chadiha: Vick's bad choices