HAMPTON, Va. — After Michael Vick’s frenzied first couple of hours at home — probation officers stopped by and his lawyer briefly addressed the media horde camped out in the cul-de-sac — things seemed to settle down outside the house.
The media ranks thinned out, and the curious onlookers who had lingered into the early morning hours hoping to get a glimpse of the suspended NFL star were long gone. With the first meeting with local probation officers out of the way, inside the house Vick reunited with his family — before the work of rebuilding his life can begin in earnest.
“He is obviously delighted to be home,” his Virginia-based lawyer, Lawrence Woodward, told reporters.
There was no word directly from Vick. Woodward said the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback remains a federal inmate as he serves two months of home confinement to complete his 23-month sentencing for a dogfighting conspiracy, and he cannot speak to the media without permission from the Bureau of Prisons. Efforts to get permission are underway, he said.
Vick also remained mostly out of sight, arriving in a sport utility vehicle with blackout curtains. The SUV, leading a four-vehicle caravan carrying a security team and others, cruised directly into a side garage. Later, Vick emerged only briefly, accompanied by a probation officer on the deck behind the five-bedroom house as they tested the electronic monitor Vick will wear for two months.
Woodward said Vick’s first meeting with probation officers went well. Vick will have to check in periodically with probation, perhaps as early as Friday. He also will soon start his US$10-an-hour job as a construction labourer — a condition of his probation.
While there were no signs welcoming the fallen star back to the home he will share with his fiancee and children, neighbours seemed relieved that the gathering wasn’t larger.
Doug Walter, who lives two doors away, said he was pleasantly surprised when he got home from work to find only media on the street, and not the “radical element” he feared.
A criminal defence lawyer and self-described dog lover, Walter said he cringed at some of the details of violence against animals that came out in the case, but also believes that Vick deserves a second chance at football and hopes that he wins reinstatement to the NFL.
“I think that he has paid the penalty — a rather steep penalty — which our system deemed appropriate, and I think he should be allowed to move on with his life,” Walter said.
Vick’s ultimate goal is to convince NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell that he is truly sorry for his crime and that he is ready to live a different life. Goodell has said those are the main factors that will guide his decision on whether to lift Vick’s indefinite suspension.
If Vick is reinstated by Goodell, one team he won’t get a shot with is Jacksonville. Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver said Thursday that he is “not interested” in Vick.