Michael Vick has agreed to plead guilty to the federal dogfighting charges against him under a deal reached today between his attorneys and prosecutors, his lawyer said.
"Michael is prepared to take full responsibility for allowing any and all of this to happen," Vick's Washington-based attorney, William R. (Billy) Martin, said in a telephone interview. "He needs to put all of this behind him. He's 27 years old and he has a full life ahead of him. He wants to get back to the life he had before these issues."
Martin said that the Atlanta Falcons quarterback decided to accept the plea deal after talking to family members over the weekend. He declined to comment on the terms of the plea agreement.
But a source familiar with the case, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the terms of the deal were to be kept confidential, said that Vick likely will serve 12 to 18 months in prison.
Vick and his attorneys are scheduled to appear in federal court in Richmond next Monday. The deal still must be approved by the judge in the case and could collapse at any point until then.
Vick's three co-defendants in the case previously agreed to plead guilty and cooperate with the prosecution.
Vick was charged with helping to operate a dogfighting ring based at a property owned by him in southeastern Virginia. He had been scheduled to go on trial Nov. 26.
State charges against Vick remain possible, and a source said that this deal with federal prosecutors does not address the issue of state charges.
NFL discipline against Vick is pending and likely will be determined, a source said, after Vick meets with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Last month, Goodell ordered Vick not to report to the Falcons' training camp and announced that Vick's playing status would be determined by a review being conducted by Washington attorney Eric Holder.
The federal indictment of Vick portrayed him as an active member of the dogfighting operation who attended and even traveled to dogfights, paid bets for losing fights and participated in the killing of dogs that didn't perform well.