Michael Dwayne Vick (born June 26, 1980, in Newport News, Virginia) is a suspended National Football League (NFL) quarterback under contract with the Atlanta Falcons team. In 2007, a U.S. federal district court convicted him and several co-defendants of criminal conspiracy resulting from felonious dog fighting and lying and sentenced him to serve a 23-month prison sentence. He is being held in the United States Penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas.
Vick is also under indictment for two related Virginia state felony charges for his role in the dogfighting ring and related gambling activity. His state trial has been delayed until he is released from federal prison. He faces a maximum 10-year state prison term if convicted on both counts.
The family lived in the "Ridley Circle Homes", a public housing project in a financially depressed and crime-ridden neighborhood located in the East End section of the port city, an area known in hip hop culture by the slang names "Bad News" or "Bad Newz" according to the Urban Dictionary. A 2007 newspaper article published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch noted "not much changed" by observations of local people almost ten years after Michael Vick left. One resident said that there were drug dealing, drive-by shootings and other killings in the neighborhood, and suggested that sports were a way out and a dream for many.
In a 2001 interview, Vick told the Newport News Daily Press that when he was 10 or 11, “I would go fishing even if the fish weren’t biting, just to get out of there" and away from the violence and stress of daily life in the projects. Even though the area is, by all accounts, troubled, several people interviewed were disbelieving that dog fighting was a local activity there.
As he grew up, Michael Vick, who as a child went by the nickname "Ookie," also learned a lot about football from a second cousin four years older, Aaron Brooks. Vick and Brooks both spent a lot of time as youths at the local Boys and Girls Club. As a 7-year-old throwing three touchdown passes in a Boys Club league, his apparent football talents led coaches and his parents to keep a special watch over Vick.
Vick told Sporting News magazine in an interview published April 9, 2001: "Sports kept me off the streets.... It kept me from getting into what was going on, the bad stuff. Lots of guys I knew have had bad problems."
At Warwick High School, under Coach Reamon's tutelage, Vick was a three-year starter for the Raiders, passing for 4,846 yards with 43 touchdowns during his career. He once ran for six touchdowns and threw for three touchdowns in a single game. He also added 1,048 yards and 18 scores on the ground and accounted for ten passing and ten rushing touchdowns as a senior as he passed for 1,668 yards.
Coach Reamon, who had helped guide Aaron Brooks from Newport News to the University of Virginia earlier, helped Michael with his SAT tests, and helped him and his family choose between Syracuse University and Virginia Tech. Reamon favored Virginia Tech, where he felt better guidance was available under Coach Frank Beamer, who promised to redshirt him and provide the freshman needed time to develop. Reamon sold Michael on the school's proximity to family and friends, and apparently following his advice, Vick chose to attend Virginia Tech and play football as a Hokie.
As he left the Newport News public housing projects in 1998, "on the wings of a college football scholarship," Michael Vick was seen in the Newport News (and close-by Hampton) community of the lower Virginia Peninsula as a "success story." In a story published in September 2000, while his son Michael was at Virginia Tech, Michael Boddie told the university's Collegiate Times: "Ever since he learned to throw a football, he's always liked throwing a ball...It's just in his blood." He added that his son had never gotten into trouble or ... involved with drugs, adding: "I like the way he has developed, not only as a player but as a person."
Vick led the NCAA in passing efficiency that year, setting a record for a freshman (180.4), which was also good enough for the third-highest all-time mark (Colt Brennan holds the record at 185.9 from his 2006 season at Hawaii). Vick was awarded an ESPY Award as the nation's top college player, and won the first-ever Archie Griffin Award as college football's most valuable player. He was invited to the 1999 Heisman Trophy presentation and finished third in the voting behind Ron Dayne and Joe Hamilton. Vick's third-place finish matched the highest finish ever by a freshman up to that point, first set by Herschel Walker in 1980 (Adrian Peterson has since broken that mark, finishing second in 2004).
Vick's 2000 season did have its share of highlights, such as his career rushing high of 210 yards against the Boston College Eagles in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Against West Virginia in the Black Diamond Trophy game, Vick accounted for 288 total yards of offense and two touchdowns in a 48–20 win. The following week, Vick led the Hokies back from a 14–0 deficit against at the Carrier Dome—where the Hokies had not won since 1986. Vick put the game away with a 55-yard run with 1:34 left.
The following game against , Vick was injured and had to miss the rest of that game, the entire game against , and was unable to start against the —the Hokies' lone loss of the season. Vick's final game at Virginia Tech came against the in the Toyota Gator Bowl, where he was named MVP of the game.
Although he had a four-year paid scholarship, with the opportunity to play professionally and the related huge financial benefits as an option, Vick elected to leave Virginia Tech after his redshirt sophomore season to become a professional football player. Aware that the rest of his family was still living in their 3 bedroom apartment in the Ridley Circle Homes, a public housing project, Michael Vick stated that he was going to buy his mother "a home and a car." ESPN later reported that Michael used some of his NFL and endorsement earnings to buy his mother a brand-new house in upscale Suffolk.
Vick was selected in the 2001 NFL Draft as the first overall pick and first African American quarterback taken number 1 in the NFL Draft. The San Diego Chargers had the number one selection spot in the draft that year but traded the rights to the first overall choice to the Atlanta Falcons a day before the draft, for which they received the Falcons' first round pick (5th overall) and third round pick in 2001 (used to draft CB Tay Cody), a second round pick in 2002 (used to draft WR Reche Caldwell) and WR/KR Tim Dwight. With the Chargers' downgraded spot (the 5th overall), they selected Texas Christian University running back LaDainian Tomlinson, who went on to become league MVP in 2006 (although Vick has never become league MVP, he finished second in voting in 2004). In this way, Tomlinson and Vick are linked as having been "traded" for each other, although the transaction was actually the result of traded draft picks and contract negotiations.
Vick owns several NFL records, including the most rushing yards by a quarterback in a single season (1,039 in 2006), highest average per carry in a single season (8.45 in 2006), 100-yard career rushing games by a quarterback (eight), best two-game rushing total (225 in 2004) and rushing yards in a single game (173 in 2002).
His 1,039 rushing yards and 8.4 average yards per carry in 2006 marked NFL records for a quarterback in a single season.
Became the first quarterback in NFL history to tally more than four career 100-yard rushing games as he has now collared eight such contests in his career.
Vick and teammate RB Warrick Dunn (1,140) became the first quarterback/running back duo to each surpass 1,000 rushing yards in a single season, and one of only four teammates to accomplish the feat in NFL history, with the last being Cleveland Browns' running backs Kevin Mack and Earnest Byner in 1985.
Enters the 2007 season ranked third among quarterbacks for rushing yards (3,859) in NFL history.
Vick's 2,474 passing yards in 2006 moved his career totals to 11,505 yards, which ranks fourth all-time in Falcons history.
With seven wins in 2005, Vick surpassed Chris Chandler (34) to move into second place on the Falcons all-time career wins list for quarterbacks. Only Steve Bartkowski (55) has won more games for the team.
Earned his second consecutive and third overall Pro Bowl nod in 2005 as he passed for 2,412 yards and 16 touchdowns in addition to leading all NFL quarterbacks with 597 rushing yards and six scores.
Named to the second Pro Bowl of his career after leading the Falcons to their third division title in team history and breaking numerous NFL and team records in 2004.
Set an NFL postseason record for a quarterback with 119 rushing yards in the 2004 NFC Divisional Playoff win against the Rams.
Became the first quarterback to ever throw for more than 250 yards and rush for over 100 yards in the same game at the Broncos (10/31/04).
Named the NFC Offensive Player the Week on two separate occasions in 2004.
In 2002, Vick became a bona fide star and MVP candidate in his first season as a full-time starter at the age of 22. He was named to his first Pro Bowl after starting all 15 games played, only missing a game to the New York Giants on October 13 due to a sprained shoulder. He completed 231 of 421 passes for 2,936 yards (both career-highs) and 16 touchdowns, while he also tallied 113 carries for 777 yards and eight rushing touchdowns. In this season, Vick established numerous single-game career-highs, including passes completed with 24 and pass attempts with 46 at Pittsburgh on November 10, as well as passing yards with 337 vs. Detroit on December 22. He also completed a career-long 74 yards for a touchdown to WR Trevor Gaylor vs. New Orleans on November 17. Vick registered an NFL record for most rushing yards by a quarterback in a single a game with 173 yards at Minnesota on December 1. Vick also tied for third in team history for the lowest interception percentage in a season at 1.90 and continued a streak of consecutive passes without an interception that began at St. Louis on January 6, 2002 in the season-finale of the 2001 season and extended to the first quarter vs. Baltimore on November 3, 2002. His streak covered 25 straight quarters and 177 passes without an interception. On January 1, 2003, Vick led the Atlanta Falcons to an upset victory over the heavily favored Green Bay Packers 27–7 in the NFC playoffs, ending the Packers' undefeated playoff record at Lambeau Field. The Falcons would later lose 20–6 to the Donovan McNabb-led Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC divisional playoff game.
In 2004, Named to his second Pro Bowl after starting 15 games, completing 181 of 321 passes for 2,313 yards with 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Also rushed 120 times for 902 yards and three scores. His 902 rushing yards ranked third all-time by NFL QBs. Only Bobby Douglass (Chi, 1972) and Randall Cunningham (Phi, 1990) had more. His 7.5 yards per carry ranked highest among all NFL players.
Only Randall Cunningham and Steve Young have more rushing yards at the quarterback position than Vick. He is also first among QB's all-time in rushing yards per game, at 53.5 yards per game. Vick also holds several NFL quarterback rushing records, including most rushing yards in one game (173), most 100-yard rushing games (7), and most rushing yards in a single season (1,039).
However, the May–October 2009 estimate is based upon assuming that Virginia does not impose any additional prison time even if he is convicted of one or both of the still-pending felony counts when he is tried in Surry Circuit Court after release from federal custody. Convictions on both charges could result in an additional ten years in state prison. Any additional prison time added by Virginia, which would lengthen his time away from the NFL, would reduce even further the likelihood of a successful return, even in a different position than as quarterback. In the most extreme case of a maximum sentence (terms served consecutively), Vick would be as old as 38 when released, since Virginia laws, like federal law, only allow for a maximum of 15% of the sentence to be shaved off for good behavior, as Virginia eliminated parole in 1994.
Even without these factors to consider, it is possible that few general managers would be willing to offer Vick another chance in the NFL, out of fear of a public relations backlash. ESPN's John Clayton said that only a few entrenched general managers would be willing to take such a risk, and even then few owners would sign off on it. Also of note is that Vick would likely not be welcome in the Canadian Football League, as it is nearly impossible for a convicted felon (or one convicted of a crime that would be treated as an indictable offence in Canada) to get a Canadian temporary resident permit. Clayton did speculate that Vick would most likely play in the Arena Football League. In an interview on April 2, 2008 with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Falcons owner Arthur Blank stated he would like to see Vick play in the NFL again, and didn't rule out welcoming him back to the Falcons.
Earlier, Goodell had barred Vick from reporting to training camp while the league conducted its own investigation into the matter. Any chance of Vick playing a down in the NFL in 2007 were all but wiped out at his July 26 arraignment, as the terms of his bail barred him from leaving Virginia for any reason before the trial.
On August 27, Falcons owner Arthur Blank said in a press conference that the Falcons would seek to recover a portion of Vick's signing bonus. He also said the team had no immediate plans to cut ties with Vick, citing salary-cap issues. It initially appeared that Goodell had cleared the way for the Falcons to release Vick, since he ruled that Vick's involvement in gambling activity breached his contract. On August 29, the Falcons sent a letter to Vick demanding that he reimburse them for $20 million of the $37 million bonus. The case was sent to arbitration, and on October 10, an arbitrator ruled that Vick had to reimburse the Falcons for $19.97 million. The arbitrator agreed with the Falcons' contentions that Vick knew he was engaging in illegal activity when he signed his new contract in 2004, and that he'd even used the bonus money to pay for the operation.
On August 24, Vick filed his plea documents with the federal court. He pled guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to operate an interstate dogfighting ring. In addition, he admitted to providing most of the financing for the operation itself, as well as participating directly in several dogfights in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and South Carolina. He also admitted to sharing in the proceeds from these dog fights. He also admitted that he knew his colleagues killed several dogs who didn't perform well enough. However, while he admitted to providing most of the money for gambling on the fights, he denied placing any side bets on the dogfights. He also denied actually killing any dogs himself. ESPN obtained copies of the documents under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act and made them available at:
On August 27, 2007, U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson accepted Vick's guilty plea. In the scheduled December 10, 2007 sentencing, Vick faced a maximum of 5 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and 3 years of supervised release. Prosecutors asked Hudson to sentence Vick to 12–18 months (the minimum amount possible under federal sentencing guidelines) if Vick cooperated with the government as he had agreed to do in the terms of the original plea agreement. The terms of the plea agreement includes a clause in which Vick forfeits his right to appeal any sentence imposed upon him. Though prosecutors asked for a lower-end sentence for Vick, Hudson could still increase the sentence up to the maximum limits; Hudson had in fact informed two co-defendants--Peace and Phillips--that the brutality in killing the dogs warranted exceeding the guidelines in their cases..
A significant portion of the plea agreement involved Vick cooperating with Federal authorities pursuing other dogfighting cases as well as a complete allocution on his role in the Bad Newz Kennels, including detailing his role in the killing of dogs after the fights. The allocution proved to be a sticking point, as both Federal prosecutors and FBI agents reported that Vick was giving contradictory statements about how dogs were killed, what his role in the killings were, how many dogs were killed, and other details.. According to reporters who spoke to Judge Hudson after the sentencing hearing, Vick's pre-sentencing behavior, especially during an FBI polygraph administered in October 2007 which showed that Vick was being deceptive when asked direct questions about killing dogs, was a factor in selecting the length of the sentence.
As a result, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson ordered Vick confined to his Hampton, Virginia home between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. with electronic monitoring until his court hearing date in December. He also was ordered to submit to random drug testing.
Co-defendant Quanis Phillips was incarcerated earlier after his August 17 plea hearing after having failed drug tests with monitoring equipment and regulations already in place.
In November, Vick turned himself in early to begin getting time-served credit against his likely federal prison sentence, and was being held at Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw, Virginia awaiting sentencing on the federal convictions on December 10, 2007.
Observers have speculated that Michael Vick could be released from prison in late 2009 or early 2010. After release, a return to professional football would depend upon terms of probation, possible reinstatement by the NFL, his physical condition and finding a potential team. It is possible that any teams considering him at that time would want to look at Vick at other positions. "I am not sure they would bring him back as a quarterback", stated one senior NFL analyst.  ESPN's John Clayton said it is unlikely that he would be able to play in the Canadian Football League, as it is nearly impossible for a convicted felon to get a Canadian visa.  However, as his last codefendant in federal court was due to be sentenced on December 14, many observers agreed that Vick's pending trial in Virginia in April 2008 [subsequently postponed until after Vick's release from Federal prison] remained as the largest unknown factor for his future.
After several delays, Vick's trial in Surry County Circuit Court was postponed in June, 2008 until after his eventual release from federal custody. Virginia's local prosecutor, Gerald Poindexter, cited the high costs and transportation logistics of proceeding while he was still in federal prisons in Kansas and Florida. With good behavior Vick could be out July 20, 2009, Poindexter said.
On May 7, 2008, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia granted a motion for summary judgment against Vick for default and breach of a promissory note and ordered him to pay more than US$2.5 million to the Royal Bank of Canada.
Vick signed the loan agreement documents as Chief Financial Officer of Divine Seven. Art M. Washington was listed as Chief Executive Officer. The website for Georgia's Secretary of State lists "Divine Seven LLC" as a registered corporation which was created on December 15, 2006 by Washington and Vick. Washington is the designated registered agent. The company's listed address, 2527 Camp Creek Parkway, in College Park, Georgia is also listed as a Payless Car Rental franchise location. College Park is a predominantly African American city in a south Atlanta suburban area adjacent to the busy Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
According to a spokesman for the bank who was quoted in a news media report of September 28, 1st Source had been able to repossess most of the cars, which will limit Vick's financial liability in the lawsuit. A written demand for payment was made August 24, but was not honored, according to documents filed with the U.S. District Court in South Bend.
Vick's bankruptcy filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Newport News, Virginia on July 7, 2008 listed $400,000 as the amount of his potential liability to 1st Source Bank. Unlike some of the items listed for other debtors, the filing does not indicate that the amount due 1st Source Bank is either secured by any assets or in dispute.
In March, 2007, an Atlantic Wine & Package store and adjacent Tasting Room restaurant at 3560 Camp Creek Parkway opened in the suburban Atlanta town of East Point. (A primarily African American community, East Point is home to R&B and hip hop groups such as TLC, OutKast, Coolbreeze, Organized Noize, and Goodie Mob, as well as an alternative rock group, Seven Envy).
A Tasting Room website notes that Jenkins, a retired surgeon, has owned a store named Atlantic Wine in the nearby Buckhead section of Atlanta since 2004. A news media report indicated that he had brought Vick in as an investor. A newspaper article about his appearance at the opening in March described Vick as "the main shareholder of the three investors. An Atlanta attorney was named by news media sources as a third investor in the restaurant and wine store venture, but was not named in the Wachovia suit.
On May 14, 2008, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that summary judgment in favor of Wachovia against Vick had been granted by the U.S. District Court in Atlanta. The amount of $1,117,908.85 represented the initial principal balance outstanding ($937,907.61), interest accrued, outstanding fees, overdrawn accounts and attorneys fees. The order provided that further interest could be accrued.
The suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback "will seek to rebuild his life and career" upon his release, according to the filings. In Newport News, the Daily Press made a PDF formatted copy of the court documents available online at the newspaper's website: Online copy of Michael Vick's Bankruptcy Filing July 7, 2008
On August 15, 2008, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Vick's finances are in such disarray that a bankruptcy judge has been asked to appoint a trustee to oversee them. W. Clarkson McDow Jr., the U.S. trustee for Region Four (which includes Newport News, Va.), noted in court documents filed in Virginia that by Vick's own admission, he "has limited ability to arrange his finances and limited ability to participate in the bankruptcy case on an in-person basis." McDow wrote in his motion to appoint a Chapter 11 trustee "It appears that Mr. Vick has routinely relied upon others to make financial decisions for him, giving them discretionary control over large sums of money". McDow named Mary Wong and David A. Talbot as individuals who had obtained broad written authority to act as his attorney-in-fact over all of his financial affairs.
On August 15, an ESPN news story described Wong and Talbot as "two financial advisers who have been charged with major frauds." On recommendation from fellow Falcons teammate Demorrio Williams, in the fall of 2007, Vick retained Mary Wong, a business manager in Omaha, Nebraska. Wong helped cash in some of Vick's investments to provide the restitution funds required by the federal court in his criminal case to care for the dogs. However, ESPN reported that, according to a document filed by one of Vick's attorneys, she used a power of attorney from Vick to "wrongfully remove" at least another $900,000 from his various accounts. Court papers also say, Wong "caused certain business entities owned by [Vick] to be transferred to her." Vick learned later that Wong had been permanently barred from working with any firm that traded on the New York Stock Exchange as the result of taking more than $150,000 from two elderly widows she met while working at Wells Fargo Investments.
Vick next turned to David A. Talbot, a medical school graduate from Hackensack, New Jersey, who claimed to have expertise in financial management. Vick later told the court that he met Talbot in April 2008 through his brother, Marcus Vick, who he said is a good friend of Talbot's son. ESPN reported that Talbot was to be paid $15,000 per month, and had taken possession of one of Vick's cars, an $85,000 Mercedes Benz. Upon closer examination, it was discovered that his professional résumé contained numerous false and apparently, fraudulent statements. In a matter unrelated to Vick, Talbot is accused of defrauding church members in New Jersey. New Jersey's Attorney General instituted legal action against Talbot for securities fraud in a scheme to "defraud" several investors of more than $500,000 by offering them "asset enhancement contracts" that were to be used to build a new church. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Frank Santoro ordered that a Mercedes-Benz that Vick had given to Talbot be repossessed and sold, and that Talbot show up at a hearing on Sept. 5. "Obviously the court is concerned," Santoro said.
On August 29, a 2 hour-long hearing was held in the Newport News Bankruptcy Court. Vick participated by speaker phone from Leavenworth, Kansas. He told the court his representatives are talking to the NFL on his behalf about a return to football, but that he does not know what his earning potential is. The Norfolk Virginian-Pilot quoted him as stating: "My plan is to go back into playing football."
On September 5, Talbot did appear before Judge Santoro, but declined to answer the judge's questions, invoking his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. Santoro told him: "You are ordered to account for every dime – or every penny, let’s put it that way – that you have received from Mr. Vick." Talbot's attorney told the court that Talbot gave the Mercedes back to Vick's brother, Marcus Vick, who drove it from Florida to Virginia.
Attorney Paul K. Campsen explained to the court that Vick "has supported his mother, brother, fiancee and his two children" over the years. Vick's financial problems include average monthly expenses of $12,225 for several large homes his family currently live in and a monthly income of just $277.69. Money that Vick gave his fiancee, mother, two children and other family members in recent years might have to be returned to pay creditors to whom Vick now owes money, according to Vick's attorneys. If they bought property with money that Vick gave them, they could be ordered to sell that property and turn over the proceeds to the court.
Vick's mother was formerly a school bus driver in Newport News. Brother Marcus is an undrafted free agent since the Miami Dolphins did not renew his single year contract signed in 2006, and at the time of the hearing, was free on bail pending his appearance in court in Norfolk General District Court on September 10 to face multiple charges which resulted from an incident in June 2008. Charges include DUI, misdemeanor eluding police, reckless driving and driving on a suspended license. A trial date of September 10 was set in Norfolk General District Court.
The announcement of the new organization came just before the start of the foundation's first fundraiser, the Michael Vick Golf Classic. The inaugural event was held at the prestigious Kingsmill Golf Course in James City County near Williamsburg, Virginia in partnership with The Virginia Tech Alumni Association Tidewater Chapter, and netted more than $80,000 for charity.
After the Virginia Tech massacre in April 2007, Michael Vick teamed up with the United Way to donate $10,000 to assist families affected by the tragedy. Vick explained, "When tragic things like this happen, families have enough to deal with, and if I can help in some small way, that's the least I can do." It was reported that The Vick Foundation was collecting donations from local communities in both Atlanta and Virginia that will be placed in the United In Caring Fund for Victims of the Virginia Tech Tragedy and the special fund at the United Way of Montgomery, Radford and Floyd counties, which serves the Virginia Tech area. The Vick Foundation said the money would be used to provide help with funeral expenses, transportation for family members and other support services.
It was announced in June 2007 that the "Michael Vick Football Camp" to be held at Christopher Newport University in Newport News was canceled for the summer 2007 session because of "scheduling issues. The university on Warwick Boulevard in Newport News is partially located on the site of the former Homer L. Ferguson High School (which closed in 1996), the school where Vick began his football fame. He also canceled participation in another football camp to be held at the College of William and Mary. According to that university, his place was to be taken by Washington Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell.
On June 22, 2007, a charity golf tournament featuring Vick, intended in part to raise scholarships in memory of Virginia Tech's shooting victims, was rescheduled for September. The tournament at Kingsmill Resort & Spa had been set to begin on June 29, and a reason for the change was not announced. At the time, the tournament was the latest in a series of Virginia appearances either canceled or delayed since Vick's name surfaced in the dog fighting investigation.
"It's difficult, because Mike (Vick) is someone who we held up as doing it right," Bernard Johnson told the Newport News Daily Press. Johnson, who has coached kids, including Vick, in the Boys and Girls Club football program for 28 years, said the lesson to kids now is all about responsibility and accountability.
After Vick apologized to the judge, his family and his children at his federal sentencing hearing on December 10, Judge Hudson stated: