Vick Seeks Meeting With Commissioner

By Mark Maske
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Michael Vick's representatives plan to try to arrange a meeting between the Atlanta Falcons quarterback and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell before Goodell decides what discipline the league will impose on Vick, sources familiar with Vick's case said yesterday.

NFL officials said that Goodell has not decided what punishment to impose on Vick, whose legal team announced Monday that he had agreed to plead guilty to the federal dogfighting charges against him. The proposed plea agreement, if it is accepted by the judge in the case, would put Vick in violation of the NFL's personal conduct policy, which empowers Goodell to fine, suspend or impose a lifetime ban on an offending player.

Goodell said last month, just after ordering Vick not to report to training camp with the Falcons pending the outcome of a review of the case by the league, that he was open to the possibility of a face-to-face meeting with Vick. It was not clear yesterday when the meeting would take place if Vick's representatives are successful in getting it scheduled. Vick and his attorneys are scheduled to appear in federal court in Richmond on Monday.

Vick met with Goodell while in New York in April for the NFL draft. He reportedly told the commissioner then that he was not involved in a dogfighting ring. On Monday, the NFL issued a written statement saying that "the conduct outlined in the charges" was "inconsistent with what Michael Vick previously told both our office and the Falcons." League officials had said that Vick's punishment could be affected if it was found that he lied to Goodell. He also may have violated the league's gambling policy, sources said, with the indictment against him detailing bets that he made on dogfights.

Several executives within the league said they expect Goodell to impose a suspension of at least one year, likely to begin after Vick is released from prison. Another possibility, they said, is that Goodell could impose an indefinite suspension and determine the exact length later. Two league sources said they regard a lifetime ban as possible but unlikely.

Goodell is awaiting a report from Eric H. Holder Jr., the Washington lawyer put in charge of the league's review of the case.

Vick's recommended sentence in his plea deal will include a jail term of 12 to 18 months, sources close to the case said Monday. But U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson can impose a longer or shorter sentence if he chooses. Vick, 27, also could face state charges.

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