Michael Vick To Trade Helmet for Hardhat

Lawyer says former star will work construction

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. -- Michael Vick will apparently trade in his jail uniform for a hardhat instead of a football helmet once he gets out of jail.

A lawyer for the suspended NFL star told a bankruptcy court Thursday that the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback has lined up a construction job for when he gets out of prison.

Vick, 28, appeared in court for the first time in his bankruptcy case to explain to a judge how he plans to emerge from his financial problems. Before the hearing began, he turned around to wave and smile at family members sitting in the courtroom. He is expected to testify before the proceeding wraps up on Friday.

"You will hear from Mr. Vick his future intentions, how he's going to change the way he lives his life," his lawyer, Michael Blumenthal, told U.S. Bankrputcy Judge Frank J. Santoro.

Vick is serving a 23-month sentence for bankrolling a dogfighting ring, and his bankruptcy plan is based on the goal of returning to a professional football career. He briefly left a federal prison in Kansas to attend the hearing. He's scheduled to be released from custody in July, but could be sent to home confinement in late May.

Blumenthal said when Vick is released, he plans to work 40 hours a week for a construction company. He did not disclose the wage or give any other details about the type of work that Vick will be performing.

Vick once was the NFL's highest-paid player and among its most popular. But details about the brutality of Vick's dogfighting enterprise enraged the public and helped destroy his finances, which court records show were already in serious disarray because of lavish spending and poor investments.

Earlier this week, Vick and the Falcons agreed that he would pay back $6.5 million of his Atlanta contract, moving closer to cutting ties with a team that doesn't want him. But how and when Vick might begin a professional comeback isn't clear. Vick was suspended indefinitely after his 2007 indictment, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said he will review Vick's status after he is released.

A committee representing most of Vick's unsecured creditors has endorsed his Chapter 11 plan because the alternative -- a Chapter 7 liquidation of his assets -- would not provide them any portion of his future earnings. But some other parties, including a former agent who won a $4.6 million judgment against Vick, opposed the plan.

Under his bankruptcy plan, Vick would keep the first $750,000 of his salary, and creditors would get part of any additional earnings.
Most objections to Vick's bankruptcy plan have been resolved, his lawyer said.

Among them is the U.S. Labor Department's complaint that Vick improperly spent $1.3 million from the pension plan of one of his companies, MV7, a celebrity marketing company. A settlement calls for Vick to waive his participation in the pension plan and restore some of the money.

Vick is eligible for transfer to home confinement with electronic monitoring around May 21. That would allow him to serve the last two months of his sentence at his Hampton home in eastern Virginia, one of two houses he would be allowed to keep under his bankruptcy plan.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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