The Atlanta Falcons have announced that they have officially released suspended quarterback Michael Vick.
"The Atlanta Falcons today relinquished their contractual rights to quarterback Michael Vick," Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said in a statement issued by the team this morning.
"Michael remains suspended by the NFL. However, in the event NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell decides to reinstate Michael, we feel his best opportunity to re-engage his football career would be at another club."
"Our entire organization sincerely hopes that Michael will continue to focus his efforts on making positive changes in his life, and we wish him well in that regard.”
Vick, the 1st overall pick of the 2001 NFL Draft, turns 29 later this month. He was recently confined to house arrest after serving 19 months in a federal prison for his involvement in an illegal, interstate dogfighting operation. Vick currently faces a July 2 hearing a bankruptcy court, during which he must submit a plan to repay his creditors.
Part of Vick's plan involves being reinstated to the National Football League. Vick has been suspended by the NFL since August of 2007 and Commissioner Goodell has stated that he will not make a ruling regarding Vick's reinstatement until his federal prison sentence expires on July 20.
Earlier this year, Falcons owner Arthur Blank stated that he'd like to see Vick be allowed to continue his NFL career, but publicly ruled out a return to Atlanta for his former star quarterback.
In his first draft, Dimitroff used his very first draft pick on quarterback Matt Ryan, who would earn AP Offensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2008, throwing for 3,440 yards, 16 touchdowns and 87.7 passer rating, which helped the Falcons to an 11-5 record and their first playoff appearance in four years.
During his six seasons with the Falcons, three of which ended with trips to the Pro Bowl, Vick started 67 of 74 games, completing 53.8% of his passes for 11,505 yards, 71 touchdowns and 52 interceptions. His career passer rating is 75.7. One of the most gifted athletes to ever play in the NFL, Vick added 3,859 yards and 21 rushing touchdowns, including 1,039 yards in 2006, his last season with the Falcons.
Brian McIntyre lives in the Boston area. In addition to writing for FalconInsider.com, Brian maintains his own blog (www.macsfootballblog.com) and charts games for Football Outsiders. If you’d like to e-mail Brian, you may do so here.