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Michael Vick: "I became better at reading dogs than reading defenses"

Michael Vick writes about his involvement in a dogfighting ring in his new autobiography. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick has "made peace" with his involvement in a dogfighting ring that landed him in prison for 21 months and nearly cost him his NFL career, he said in an interview with USA TODAY's Robert Klemko.

Vick writes about the dogfighting ring in his new autobiography, Finally Free, which will be released Sept. 4. USA TODAY received excerpts and interviewed Vick, who said he started writing the book while serving his prison sentence.

In one excerpt, Vick writes about how dedicated he became to dogfighting.

“Back when I was involved in those activities, I may have become more dedicated to the deep study of dogs than I was to my Falcons playbook. I became better at reading dogs than reading defenses. That’s just so sad to say right now, because I put more time and effort into trying to master that pursuit than my own profession . . .  which was my livelihood . . . which put food on the table for my family.”

He also wrote about lying to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell when they first met about the incident.

“I knew how to lie with a straight face. Sad to say, Commissioner Goodell bought into what I was saying, and I think he truly believed me that I was telling the truth. I deeply regret not telling him the truth from the outset.

“It was a very nervous time for me. I knew I was going to try to lie my way through the whole dogfighting case and see if money, good lawyers, and manipulating the system could get me out of the position I was in — which was a terrible position.”

Vick told Klemko that he hopes his book gives a more complete picture of what happened.

"People are always going to have their opinions and feel the way that they do," Vick told Klemko. "You can't change it. The reason I'm writing this book is so people can have an understanding and not just go off of what they see on TV or what they heard, the picture that's been created." ..."I've made peace with it, because I have no control over it. It's not like I could do it all over again," he said of his involvement. "But at the same time, I think I made a lot of changes for the better and I think in my quest to be an advocate against dogfighting and working with the Humane Society, I've helped more animals than I've hurt, and I continue to do that."

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