Michael Vick Reportedly Has Paid off Almost Entire $17.8M Debt Owed to Creditors

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIDecember 17, 2014

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 09:  Quarterback Michael Vick #1 of the New York Jets warms up before a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at MetLife Stadium on November 9, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

New York Jets quarterback Michael Vick was in dire financial straits amid the dog fighting scandal that landed him in prison, accumulating $17.8 million in debt.    

Vick, who filed for bankruptcy protection in July 2008, has now almost completely paid off the exorbitant amount of money he's owed to creditors. ESPN.com Darren Rovell reported Wednesday that Vick has paid 84.7 percent of his debts off.

Antonietta Collins of ESPN tweeted a video feature to accompany Rovell's report:

Had he filed for Chapter 7 rather than Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Vick wouldn't have had to pay off most of his debts. The four-time Pro Bowler explained to Rovell why he opted for the latter option:

I didn't want to stiff people who never stiffed me. [...] I feel blessed because I came out and found myself in a position where I had a lot of people that really believed in me, people who gave me an opportunity. At the time, it wasn't about trying to fulfill all the bankruptcy needs. I was trying to fulfill all the needs that I had in my life because I had nothing.

Vick, 34, went on a budget for the first time in his life, restricting himself to $300,000, as he embarked on the road to pay his debts in 2010. The Atlanta Falcons were the team that initially had Vick as their franchise QB, but they weren't confident he would be able to pay them back.

The team settled to get $6.5 million of Vick's salary in March 2009 but backed out less than two years after Vick tried to reimburse creditors and eventually sold its liability to a firm. It appeared Vick was well on the way to paying the Falcons back, though.

"What Michael did was the exception, not the rule," said Joseph Luzinski, the liquidating trustee in Vick's bankruptcy and senior vice president of Development Specialists Inc., per Rovell. "He didn't have to do this. The law allows you to skate by and pay your creditors 10 or 20 cents on the dollar, but he thought this was the right thing to do."

PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 28: Quarterback Michael Vick #1 of the New York Jets comes out of the preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles and tips his cap to the crowd on August 28, 2014 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Phot
Evan Habeeb/Getty Images

While Vick hasn't performed well on the field over the past several years, his comeback to football was what provided the means to clear his high financial hurdles. The best season Vick ever had came in 2010 with the Philadelphia Eagles, when he threw 21 touchdowns to just six interceptions in 12 games.

Although Philly lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers by five points in the opening round of the playoffs, the flashes of greatness Vick showed were enough to warrant a huge payday. Vick signed a six-year contract worth $100 million prior to the 2011 campaign.

That lucrative deal provided Vick with the chance to stage perhaps an even more impressive comeback away from the field. Now it is almost complete, which times up well with what should be the twilight of Vick's career, as his football future is uncertain when he hits free agency this offseason.

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