Suspended NFL quarterback Michael Vick completed the electronic monitoring device portion of his federal sentence Monday and will remain on probation the next three years.
Vick was released from the Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary in Kansas and transferred to his suburban home in Hampton, Va. on May 20. There, he served the final two months of his 23-month sentence for financing and participating in the Bad Newz Kennels dogfighting operation. Vick worked a construction job and helped fitness and health workers at a local Boys and Girls Clubs for the final 60 days of his sentence.
What is next for Vick is not clear. The league suspended Vick indefinitely prior to the 2007 season, and was released by the Atlanta Falcons last month. Before being convicted of bankrolling the dogfighting operation, Vick had denied any involvement to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Falcons owner Arthur Blank in separate face-to face meetings. In 2007, Vick was convicted of conspiracy charges. Goodell has said he would have to sit down with Vick before allowing him to play again. Vick's lawyer, Paul Campsen, said that his client would like to play again.
If Goodell does not welcome Vick back, he may have other options. The new United Football League could be interested, where Vick might earn up to $1 million or more a season. He could also get into coaching. Yet those who support his return to the NFL speak as if it would be a failure of the system for him to land anywhere but football's highest peak, that any opportunity short of that would deprive him of a shot at redemption. "I think Mike has done his time and hopefully he gets reinstated," Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan told ESPN this week. Ryan's breakout rookie season in 2009 helped the organization get past the Vick fiasco.
In one online poll, 71 percent of the more than 140,000 respondents replied "No" to the question: "Would you want your favorite team to take a chance on Vick when he gets out of prison?" To the question, "Should the NFL allow Vick back into the league?" people were more divided, with 58.1 percent believing he should be permitted to return and 41.9 percent in favor of a ban.