Michael Vick has agreed to pay the Atlanta Falcons US$6.5 million as part of his bankruptcy case, clearing the way for the team to release him before training camp, a person familiar with the settlement said on Tuesday.
The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the settlement was not being announced publicly, said the payment would go toward settling a bankruptcy claim by the team for salary paid to Vick while he was missing the last two seasons.
Vick pleaded guilty to federal dogfighting charges and is in the final months of a nearly two-year sentence. He was once the NFL’s highest-paid player, signing a US$130 million, 10-year deal with the Falcons in December 2004.
The settlement was reached ahead of Vick’s bankruptcy hearing in Virginia today. It does not affect the Falcons’ claim involving bonuses already paid to the quarterback.
An arbitrator ruled the team was owed US$20 million, a federal judge reduced the award to US$3.75 million and the team has appealed to the 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals. A ruling is expected in June.
Once that issue is resolved, Vick is likely to be released by the Falcons. The team has pursued trade talks, but there appears to be little interest by the Falcons in the player who became the first quarterback in NFL history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season.