Saturday, August 25, 2007

Falcons not finished with Vick

-- The Atlanta Falcons apparently are not through with Michael Vick yet -- not when the team still hopes to recover millions of dollars it already paid the quarterback.

Vick was suspended indefinitely without pay by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Friday, only hours after Vick acknowledged his guilt to some dogfighting charges. In announcing the suspension, Goodell also opened the way for the Falcons to attempt to recover $22 million of Vick's signing bonus from the 10-year, $130 million contract he signed in 2004.

"I have advised the Falcons that, with my decision today, they are no longer prohibited from acting and are now free to assert any claims or remedies available to them under the Collective Bargaining Agreement or your NFL Player Contract," Goodell said Friday.

Though Falcons officials wouldn't discuss their plans Saturday, the team is expected to follow Goodell's suggestion and attempt to recoup the money from Vick. The process will remain private.

"We're not going to talk at all in any detail about any of that," Falcons spokesman Reggie Roberts said Saturday night.

The fact Vick remains on the team's roster may be the best indication of the plans. For the team to make a legal claim to recovering money under the CBA, Vick must remain on the roster, even though he is suspended.

The Falcons already have some financial relief. The team will not have to pay Vick's $6 million base salary this season, and it can add a player to replace Vick, since he is on the suspended list.

The bad news for the team: Vick still counts about $8.5 million against the team's salary cap for this season.

The loss of Vick may hurt the team in other ways. Monday night's preseason opener against Cincinnati will be the first chance for the team to learn if Vick's departure hurts attendance at the Georgia Dome.

Vick wears the biggest-selling jersey in team history and is given much credit for the team's 51 consecutive sellouts.

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