- The Washington Times - Monday, July 27, 2009

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has agreed to conditionally reinstate former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, possibly allowing him to return to play by Week 6 of the regular season.

Vick, who had been jailed for nearly two years after pleading guilty on charges relating to dogfighting, will be allowed to participate in preseason workouts and meetings, and could also play in the final two games of the preseason if he is signed by a team.

Vick was released from federal custody on July 20, but is on probation for three more years. He is an unrestricted free agent and is not signed by any team.

The NFL also announced it has appointed former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy as an advisor and mentor to Vick as part of a transitional step approach to his possible full reinstatement into the league.

Goodell said he would consider allowing Vick to begin playing as soon as October 18, but his decision will be based on input from Dungy, Vick’s probation officer and other outside sources. The commissioner is also said Vick’s reinstatement will depend on the quality of his work outside of football and his ability to avoid any further trouble with the law.

Before reaching his decision, Goodell conducted interviews with Vick associates and family members, plus former teammates and members of NFL security. He met with Vick and NFL Players’ Association officials on July 22. Goodell also reviewed letters written by Vick and other people representing him.

In asking for reinstatement, Vick submitted to the NFL a written plan that outlined his living arrangements, financial affairs, and plans for mentoring and counseling. He also proposed work with the Humane Society and other animal rights groups.

Goodell responded to Vick in a letter in which he repeatedly said it was up to the former player to make the needed lifestyle adjustments.

“I accept that you are sincere when you say that you want to, and will, turn your life around and that you intend to be a positive role model for others,” Goodell wrote. “I am prepared to offer you that opportunity. Whether you succeed is entirely in your hands.”

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