NEW YORK -- Michael Vick was conditionally reinstated by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Monday and could play in regular season games as early as October.
Vick can immediately participate in preseason practices, workouts and meetings and can play in the final two preseason games -- if he can find a team that will sign him. A number of teams have already said they would not.
Goodell suspended Vick indefinitely in August 2007 after the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback admitted bankrolling the "Bad Newz Kennels" dogfighting operation. Goodell said then that Vick must show remorse and signs that he has changed before he would consider reinstating him.
Once the season begins, Vick may participate in all team activities except games, and Goodell said he would consider Vick for full reinstatement by Week 6 (Oct. 18-19).
Goodell called a news conference for late Monday afternoon.
The announcement came after a busy first week of freedom for Vick, who met with union leaders and Goodell on consecutive days last week. His 23-month federal sentence ended when an electronic monitor was removed from his ankle early on July 20 at his home in Hampton, Va.
He met with DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association, last Tuesday and, on Wednesday, he sat down with Goodell at a security firm in Allendale, N.J.
Vick released a statement through agent Joel Segal.
"I would like to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to commissioner Goodell for allowing me to be readmitted to the National Football League," Vick said. "I fully understand that playing football in the NFL is a privilege, not a right, and I am truly thankful for the opportunity I have been given.
"As you can imagine, the last two years have given me time to re-evaluate my life, mature as an individual and fully understand the terrible mistakes I have made in the past and what type of life I must lead moving forward."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press