ATLANTA (AP) -- The Atlanta Falcons planned to suspend
quarterback Michael Vick for four games until the N-F-L asked them
to hold off while it conducts its own investigation.
What remains unclear is whether Vick has played his final game
for the Falcons.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank said at a news conference today that
the behavior outlined in the indictment against Vick "is really
horrific." But Blank said the indictment only contains charges,
and the legal process has to be allowed to play out.
Blank said he would encourage Vick not to worry about playing
football at all in 2007 while the federal dogfighting case against
him is pending.
Training camp begins Thursday, the same day Vick is scheduled to
be arraigned in Richmond. The Falcons felt they had to make a
decision on the player who led them to the N-F-C championship game
during the 2004 season and last year became the first quarterback
in league history to rush for a thousand yards.
For now, Joey Harrington is Atlanta's starting quarterback.
Teams are allowed to impose disciplinary suspensions of up to
four games, while the league can hand out harsher penalties.
Since the end of last season, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell
has used a new personal conduct policy to suspend Adam "Pacman"
Jones of the Tennessee Titans for the entire 2007 season; and Chris
Henry of Cincinnati and former Chicago Bear Tank Johnson for eight
Blank said the Falcons had gone so far as to draft a letter. But
the commissioner asked them not to take action until the league
completes its review.