RICHMOND, Va. -- Michael Vick was sentenced to prison Monday
for running a dogfighting operation and will stay there longer than
two co-defendants, up to 23 months, because he lied about his
involvement when he was supposed to be coming clean to the judge
who would decide his fate.
The disgraced NFL star received a harsher sentence than the
Despite the early surrender, a public apology and participation
Vick's "legal journey."
"This is a difficult day for Michael's family and for a lot of
us, including many of our players and fans who have been
emotionally invested in Michael over the years," Blank said. "We
sincerely hope that Michael will use this time to continue to focus
his efforts on making positive changes in his life, and we wish him
well in that regard."
Blank told ESPN's Chris Mortensen he has not shut the door on the possibility Vick could play for the Falcons in the future.
"If the question is whether can I see a set of circumstances in which Michael [comes back to
the team], the answer is yes," Blank said. "That being the case, we're moving forward as if he will not be back. I have learned you never say never but we're planning as if he will not be here. We are resolved to get this franchise on the rebound and become one of the most successful in the NFL."
Blank said he spoke with Vick "about six weeks ago," shortly before Vick entered prison to begin serving time.
"He was still remorseful, he felt badly and he told me he loved me," Blank told Mortensen. "I wish him well and I hope he has a positive, productive life ahead of him."
Vick was suspended without pay by the NFL and lost all his
lucrative endorsement deals. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was
asked after Monday's ruling if Vick should play again.
"That's a determination we'll make later on," he told The
Associated Press from a legislative hearing in Austin, Texas,
involving the NFL Network. "As I said earlier when we suspended
him indefinitely, we would evaluate that when the legal process was