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Disgraced NFL player heads home

THE cul-de-sac in front of suspended NFL star Michael Vick's five-bedroom home drew a steady stream of onlookers as news spread that he was heading back to town.

There was no shortage of media, satellite TV trucks and photographers, except Vick didn't arrive at his home after embarking on the 19-hour ride from Leavenworth, Kansas, following his pre-dawn release from federal prison earlier.

Vick spent 19 months in prison after his federal dogfighting conviction and is returning to Virginia to spend the last two months of his sentence under home confinement. He will work a US$10-an-hour construction job and wear an electronic monitor that restricts his movement.

He has until the end of the week to meet with his parole officer, but even that meeting could take place at the brick home with the in-ground pool, fenced yard and pond out back.

Vick is scheduled to be released from federal custody on July 20.

There has been talks if Vick deserves a second chance at football and if he should be reinstated to the NFL.

"Football is on the back burner for now," said his agent Joel Segal, who negotiated Vick's 10-year, US$130 million contract with the Falcons.

Many in the league, including Falcons owner Arthur Blank, said Vick deserves a chance to rebuild his life through football, having been left bankrupt and shamed by his conviction.

"It goes beyond, 'Has he paid his debt to society?' Because I think that from a legal standpoint and financially and personally, he has," Blank said at an NFL owners' meeting.


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