Belichick still evasive on Vick

Updated: August 1, 2009, 10:21 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick won't rule out the chance the team will sign quarterback Michael Vick.

But he's not saying it's a possibility, either.

On Thursday, Belichick had been asked his thoughts about Vick. He responded by praising Vick's talent, but did not address the topic otherwise.

On Friday, he remained as shifty as ever, when asked whether the Patriots had decided on anything regarding Vick.

"Have we ruled it out? I don't know that it's ruled in or ruled out. I'm not not answering your question. I'm saying I don't think it's ever been put that way, so I can't really answer that," Belichick said during the morning media availability.

"We're coaching the players that we have on the field right now, so that's who is here. So, anybody who isn't here, is there potential that they could be here? Yeah, there probably is. But right now they're not."

Vick served 18 months in prison in connection with a dogfighting ring he was running. He was conditionally reinstated by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Monday.

In Newport News, Va., on Friday, Vick was in court regarding his Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan, which a judge ruled could be sent to creditors to vote on.

It remains unclear how the out-of-work quarterback will earn the income to pay them.

Vick declined to answer reporters' questions before and after the hearing.

The plan now goes to Vick's creditors. After they vote, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Frank Santoro will conduct a confirmation hearing on Aug. 27.

Creditors approved Vick's first plan, but Santoro rejected it in April, saying it was not feasible. This time, Vick has proposed selling off more assets and giving creditors a bigger cut of his future income.

But the plan is based largely on Vick's prospective earnings from his goal of returning to the NFL, which still is not a sure thing.

Goodell conditionally reinstated Vick on Monday, a week after Vick completed his 23-month sentence for running a dogfighting ring. Goodell said Vick can sign with a team and begin playing by the sixth week of the regular season. Vick said Thursday that he is "getting close" to signing but did not offer any details.

Several NFL teams have said they're not interested in signing the 29-year-old Vick.

"Mr. Vick's time horizon in his professional career is not unlimited," Santoro said.

The judge also postponed action on requests for payment by Vick's attorneys, saying he wanted to wait until all the legal bills are in. A New York-based law firm is asking for $1.5 million after slashing its original request of nearly $2.7 million. A Norfolk firm is seeking $385,000.

Santoro demanded an explanation from one of the New York attorneys, Michael Blumenthal, on how his firm could bill Vick for 8,000 hours of work in less than a year.

"This case is probably the most difficult case I've ever been involved in," Blumenthal said.

He noted that Vick was in the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan., when the bankruptcy petition was filed in July 2008, making attorney-client communication difficult. And Vick's finances were in shambles, requiring a Herculean effort to track down assets, bank accounts and financial records.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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