Vick to be arraigned on Thursday

Jul 25, 2007 - 6:49 PM RICHMOND, Virginia (Ticker) - Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick will appear in court Thursday to face a bond hearing and be arraigned on federal dogfighting charges.

On the same day that Falcons training camp opens, Vick will be in a courtroom learning more about the accusations levied against him of competitive dogfighting, the procuring and training of pits bulls for fighting, and the conducting of the exercise across state lines.

If convicted, Vick and three co-defendants could face up to six years in prison and $350,000 in fines and restitution.

Last Tuesday, Vick and the others were indicted by a federal grand jury.

An 18-page indictment handed down by the federal government described how the operation was named Bad Newz Kennels.

Vick was named 51 times in the indictment. Page 17 paints an ugly picture of Vick's involvement.

"In or about April 2007, Peace Phillips and Vick executed approximately eight dogs that did not perform well in 'testing' sessions at 1915 Moonlight Road by various methods, including hanging, drowning and slamming at least one dog's body to the ground," the page read.

The charges come after FBI agents raided a property owned by Vick in Surry County, Virginia. According to the indictment, the property was used to house the dogs and host fights.

Whether Vick is found innocent or guilty, the case has thrown into doubt his future in the NFL.

At a Tuesday news conference in Atlanta, Falcons general manager Rich McKay admitted that the team had considered cutting Vick, despite the salary cap penalty involved because of his mammoth 10-year $130 million contract.

Instead, the team resolved to suspend Vick for four games the maximum allowed under the league's collective bargaining agreement but that decision was overridden when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell intervened.

"We discussed every option and we felt that the appropriate step was to impose a suspension," McKay said. "We do need to remember that there are more facts in the future, but we did discuss all avenues. This is the one we felt most comfortable with."

Goodell has chosen to let the legal process play out before exercising its next move. However, Vick will not attend training camp at least until an NFL review of his situation has been completed.

"While it is for the criminal justice system to determine your guilt or innocence, it is my responsibility as commissioner of the National Football League to determine whether your conduct, even if not criminal, nonetheless violated league policies, including the Personal Conduct Policy," Goodell said in a letter to the quarterback.

Vick will not forfeit his preseason pay during his excused absence from training camp and will not receive any team discipline until the NFL review is completed.

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