BETHLEHEM, PA. (AP) - NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he has yet to announce a decision on Michael Vick, leaving open the possibility the Philadelphia Eagles backup quarterback still might face disciplinary action.
“I try to look at this and understand the facts and understand where we are and where the individual is and try to make the best decision for the league and the individual, and I’d like to sit with him and share that with him before I share it with everybody else,” Goodell said.
The NFL and the Eagles have been looking into a shooting at a nightclub in Virginia Beach, Va., where Vick held his 30th birthday party on June 25. Police say no charges will be filed because of a lack of cooperation by witnesses and the victim, who Vick’s attorney Larry Woodward identified as Quanis Phillips _ a co-defendant in Vick’s federal dogfighting case.
When Vick reported to camp last week, an NFL spokesman said there was no change in his playing status. At no point, Vick said, was he formally cleared by the league.
Vick and Goodell have spoken on the phone since the shooting six weeks ago, but this will be their first face-to-face meeting.
“He understands the responsibility he has and the position he’s in, and he has to make good decisions,” Goodell said. “I want him to understand that he’s in a different position than others and because of that he has to protect himself differently, and he recognizes that, I think, and hopefully he’s going to make good decisions moving forward.”
When the Eagles signed Vick to a two-year contract last August after he finished an 18-month sentence in federal prison, he was told he has no margin for error.
Vick was a model citizen off the field and in the locker room during his first season with the Eagles. He was popular among his teammates, who voted him winner of the Ed Block Courage Award.
“A large part of our message is going to be the additional support we want to provide, helping him make better decisions, including mentoring, guidance and support we think we can provide him both at the league level and at the club level,” Goodell said. “He will continue his mentoring relationship. Tony Dungy will continue to be involved with him and has been involved with him.”
A three-time Pro Bowl pick during six seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, Vick is Philadelphia’s No. 2 quarterback behind Kevin Kolb. He wasn’t much of a factor last year, despite taking snaps away from Donovan McNabb when the Eagles ran a variation of the wildcat formation. Vick completed 6 of 13 passes for 86 yards and one touchdown and ran for 95 yards and two scores. He tossed a 76-yard TD pass in a 34-14 loss to Dallas in the playoffs.
Goodell is more concerned with Vick’s performance off the field.
“I think he’s made significant progress. I think he understands his responsibility, he’s been focused on it, but as I’ve said to him a year ago, he can’t afford lapses in judgment,” Goodell said. “He just can’t afford that. He understands that position he’s in, and he needs to make sure that he’s held to that high standard.”
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